Tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks will look to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes, in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the first time in over 15 years. The Blackhawks are looking to turn their current 2-game winning streak into a legitimate roll, while the Hurricanes are looking to turn their early season struggles around, in a team-testing matchup with the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The Hurricanes are off to a less than stellar 2-2-2(6 points) start to the 2013-2014 campaign. Things could be much worse, but there is plenty of room to improve. Carolina will struggle to make the playoffs, if the continue to be desperately dependent on star goaltender, Cam Ward. He will need his rest here and there, and if backup Anton Khudobin is unable to get on an at least manageable streak, it could be a long season, in Raleigh. The offense has been mostly miss rather than hit, so far this season, for the ‘Canes, with the exceptions of Jeff Skinner and Nathan Gerbe. Carolina boasts what should be a potent top-line of Eric Staal, Alexander Semin, and the recently activated from IR, Tuomo Ruutu, that hasn’t really produced much this season. If all of the aforementioned players start clicking, the Hurricanes could possibly make some noise in the Metropolitan Division.
The Blackhawks prevented what was looking like could turn into a legitimate cold streak, into a potential winning streak, if they get a win, tonight, in Carolina. Patrick Kane is on fire out of the gates, this season, with 4 goals, in the first 5 games. At first, it was only Jonathan Toews who was consistently winning faceoffs, and a struggling Penalty Kill, that put the Hawks on the brink of a cold streak, but with back-to-back wins, this past weekend, the Hawks have seemingly solved those ailments, and Toews is still winning faceoffs, and also putting up points. It’s amazing what a difference 2 weekend hockey games can make.
A win tonight for the Hurricanes will go a long ways in getting them on track, and helping them make their way to being legitimate contenders in the Metropolitan Divisions, and a win for the Blackhawks will hold off talk of any Stanley Cup hangover, for just a bit longer, and also officially start their first winning streak of the 2013-2014 season. It should be a good game.