Taking down the Ottawa Senators 6-3 in a rare matinee game, Carolina turned in a confident, dominant and balanced performance. They were moving the puck well, sharing the work and points were all over. While there may have been small hiccups, this is the hockey they needed to play. There’s only one problem.
We’ve seen this before.
At least three other times in the season, the Hurricanes had been deemed to be ‘surging.’ This is a great term to describe what’s going on. Multiple surges over and over aren’t surges; they’re ups and downs. It’s a fine line for the Hurricanes between coming back and being streaky.
Head coach Kirk Muller isn’t helping much either. He goes back and forth between messing with things too much and leaving things how they are. Rarely is either of them at the correct moment. All three top lines are producing more than expected. Nathan Gerbe and Manny Malhotra are looking to be the new tag team, and Jordan Staal is making a case as the second line’s commandant with Jeff Skinner being ever reliable. On top of all this, Eric Staal and Alexander Semin seem to have finally found their thing.
There are problems that make this current surge seem shaky. Carolina’s defense is continuing their muddled play and allowing opponents to run the zone. The glaring absence of a standout defenseman together with the iffy play in the back end is cause for concern.
A schedule with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens coming up should be a good thing. However, with the playoff race beginning, Carolina can ill-afford to get shaky again before the 2014 Winter Olympics break. With the Hurricanes’ track record, this is a real thing that could happen.
Fans are hoping for another streak when the practical thing is more consistent play. A loss here and a loss there is fine so long as Carolina can keep from imploding.