After wrapping up an up and down four-game road trip with a 2-2 mark, the Hurricanes have two days off at home before a weekend set launches them into the next stretch of schedule.
With only 26 games remaining and the 2020 NHL trade deadline right around the corner, we are at the edge of the stretch run. And with the Hurricanes in a pack of teams competing for the last playoff spots and currently two points out of the last spot, every point will be critical down the stretch.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at the Canes remaining schedule from a few perspectives in bullet point format.
* Home versus away: The Hurricanes have played exactly half of their games at home so far which means that the remaining games are also split evenly at 13 home and 13 away.
* The big roadie: For the road portion, six of those thirteen games come on a long road trip that starts February 29 and ends 13 days later. That is a little misleading because the Hurricanes will play the first road game, return home for 4 days and then start what is a real 5-game road trip that lasts 8 days.
* Finish at home: After the long road trip, the Canes finish with 8 of 13 at home.
* Familiar foes: The remaining schedule is odd in the volume of repeat opponents in the true stretch run. The Hurricanes’ playoff fate could well be decided by how they fare against the Penguins who the Canes play 4 out of last 17 games. That last stretch also features pairs of games against the Islanders, Devils, Bruins and Maple Leafs. So being able to capitalize on recent familiarity will important.
* Back-to-backs on the road: The other big thing that jumps out from browsing the schedule is the volume of games that are the second half of a back-to-back on the road. Starting on February 22, the Hurricanes play a back-to-back set in each of the last 7 weekends of the season with the second game on the road. That stands to be a tough challenge if the team gets winded down the stretch and cannot recover quickly.
* Mastering the Metro: It is no secret that the Hurricanes have struggled against the Metropolitan Division. The team will get one last chance to pass this test, and the results from that test could decide the team’s playoff fate. The Canes play 10 of their last 18 games in division starting on March 1.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Where do you stand in general with thinking that the schedule could impact the end result for the 2019-20 versus believing that it is all about playing well or not this time of year?
2) Which of trying to conquer Metro Division demons, the 4 games against the Pens down the stretch or the 7 back-to-backs with the second on the road is most daunting?
3) If you browse the remaining schedule, what else jumps out at you?