With consecutive wins over the weekend, the Hurricanes are down to 15 games remaining in the 2019-20 NHL regular season.
In addition, the team has successfully navigated the first three games of a potentially treacherous road trip with a 2-1 record.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at the schedule remaining.
The road trip wraps up with two games against non-playoff teams in the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. Interestingly, both teams are playing decent hockey right now with respective two-game winning streaks.
After the road trip is completed, the Hurricanes will play eight out of their last 13 games at home.
The run of 10 games leading up to the final week will feature some repeat customers with a home and home set against the Buffalo Sabres and three more games against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The last week is interesting with two tough match ups against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins and what could be a wild card play in type of game against the Columbus Blue Jackets for game #81. With the Bruins extending their lead, there is a decent chance that the Bruins will have little to play for in those two games which would be helpful.
If I had to make a short list of keys, they would be as follows:
1) Repeat on the Penguins. After the road trip, the Penguins make up nearly 25 percent of the remaining schedule, so having their number would be a huge benefit.
2) Run the table or close on the beatable teams. Beating lesser teams can be incredibly challenging this year because those teams are lose with nothing to lose. Five out of the next seven game are against teams not competing for playoff spots. How well the Canes can take care of business in the stretch will determine the starting point for the last two weeks.
3) Be strong in back-to-backs. Eight of the remaining games are back-to-back sets with travel. The Hurricanes are fresh off of winning a back-to-back set this past weekend, so hopefully they can repeat that.
What say you Canes fans?
1) On a scale of 1 to 10, how important do you think schedule is this time of year?
2) If you look at the Canes remaining schedule, what jumps out to you as key stretches or themes?
Games against the metro are all important. If we can take care of business against the Pens (win at least 2 out of 3) and Columbus we’re almost there.
Add Buffalo, I think we should be able to beat Buffalo twice and then pick up some of the winnable games such as tonight’s (I think the Devils will prove difficult on Thursday) we should make it.
If we can get better goaltending, better D and smart Checkers call ups in the second halves up back to back games to inject energy, there’s a 40% chance.
1. If we played like we did against PHI then the schedule doesn’t matter. But if we play like we did against NYI and PIT…the schedule doesn’t matter. It is much more how we play than the schedule itself. I feel like we might, finally, have turned the corner and are playing the “right way” with complete games combining grit/grind with speed/skill.
2. I wonder how much fatigue will be a factor as the month wears on – no more than day off between games with a fair amount of travel and the three remaining back-to-backs. I reall think it will be March 22-29 as the critical period.
I feel like they need at least 9 wins to get in, which gets them to 97 points. Definitely like that they’ll have 8/13 games at home after these next two.
I like what raleightj says in #1 above: basically the opponent doesn’t matter nearly much as whether we show up and play – not that the opponent has anything to do with that 🙂
My match and darth’s math agree – 18-pts over 15 games should do it. The four over the next three days are huge. The boys need to keep the train rolling now that it feels like it’s (finally) picking up speed.
Agree that how the Canes play is most important. If they play like they can they should be OK. If they play like they have, not so much.
Even though the Canes won the last two I have a couple concerns.
Goaltending has been pretty much what you would expect from AHL goaltenders, inconsistent. I was not impressed with Nedeljkovic at all. Started every game poorly. Forsberg was pretty much the opposite. Started well, but eventually was overwhelmed. It has to be better.
Aho-Teravainen-Svechnikov have been pretty invisible. The Crosby line dummied the Aho line most of the game Sunday. Svechnikov had a few good individual plays, but they also were hemmed in quite a bit. They did keep that line off the board, but struggled. They have to be better. Justin Williams and a rookie aren’t going to carry this team.
The next game is always the most important.
And this one could be a “trap” game, after two big back-to-back wins and just a day off. We’ll know a lot 5 minutes in.