If it’s always darkest before the dawn, then the Carolina Hurricanes are more than due for the sunrise they’re experiencing.
From the middle of October until the beginning of the current November homestand, Carolina was a team in chaos. Two injured goaltenders and a laundry list of other injuries caused a complete shuffle in the strategy and personnel of the team. This shuffle didn’t agree with The universe’s plans and the Hurricanes embarked on the most epic of all losing streaks in recent memory.
With a few key moves and some patience, Carolina has emerged from the skid mostly intact and logged some hugely crucial points in the standings. With wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders, the confidence built. Even in a shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild Carolina was able to come away with a point, keeping a streak alive.
Then they beat the Colorado Avalanche.
Taking out the second place team in the league has lit a brand new fire under the Hurricanes and their fans, and the boost in the Metropolitan Division standings hasn’t been half bad either. Suddenly anything is possible for Carolina and the sun has risen on the Tarheel State again.
With the Anaheim Ducks coming to town Friday night things could possibly get a little hairy. However, planets have aligned and allowed for the possibility of knocking off the top two teams in the NHL in the same week.
While Anaheim has been killing anything that moves in the Western Conference, the ball hasn’t been bouncing their way of late. Starting goalie Jonas Hiller has been absolutely miserable of late, culminating in giving up a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning who are already reeling from the loss of Steven Stamkos. Hiller turned in a bang up .750 save percentage in that nightmare.
As if that wasn’t enough, the flu bug has been working its way through the Ducks’ lineup. Carolina couldn’t have sold under a luckier star if Anaheim’s flight got cancelled. Carolina is getting healthier by the day, and the Ducks are getting sicker.
The Hurricanes have a defense that is hitting on every cylinder they have lately. The takeaway (TkA) column has shot up, shots against (SA/G) has plummeted, and they are 80 percent when scoring first. Backing up the defense with offense is vital, and a flu ridden Anaheim is unlikely to have an answer for the likes of Nathan Gerbe and the rejuvenated Jordan Staal.
With the distinct possibility of starting goalie Cam Ward returning to the Hurricanes lineup to back up Justin Peters by this weekend, along with news that Jeff Skinner will be joining him, everything’s coming up Hurricanes.