The Chicago Blackhawks travel to Carolina to square off against the Hurricanes. Here are some quick thoughts about a Hurricanes team that is slowly changing their identity.
5. The goalie situation is not optimal. Longtime stopper Cam Ward has yet to post a win this season and has struggled in his time on the ice. The other half of Carolina’s goalie tandem, Anton Khudobin, has been an exceptional partner in net, however, he sustained a lower body injury against Phoenix and will miss a fair amount of time. Ward is more than capable of being a No. 1 goaltender, but he forget this year’s slow start otherwise Carolina may dig themselves an early hole in the standings.
4. The Hurricanes spend a lot of time in the penalty box. They are in the top 10 in minor penalties assessed per game and with a lackluster offense, it isn’t wise to give up power play goals almost twice as frequently as you score them. An interesting fact is that while the Hurricanes have a lot of minor penalties, they are among the lowest in the league in major/fighting penalties, showing that they aren’t mixing it up, but rather they are straying from the fundamentals that has contributed to their success in past year.
3. With Ward’s shaky goaltending and their propensity for being shorthanded, the Hurricanes are thankful to have a roster full of talented defensemen and two-way players who have been able to contribute on the defensive end, even if their offensive games haven’t clicked just yet. Jeff Skinner and Riley Nash have given the team a boost on both ends with gritty play to start the season. I would keep an eye on Skinner tomorrow night as he can do some damage against the ‘Hawks 2nd and 3rd line centers.
2.The main issue for the Hurricanes is offense (or a lack thereof). Alexander Semin is the biggest individual offender on the roster. Semin’s first season with the team last year was fantastic and it seemed like the Hurricanes had done a great job picking up the former Washington Capital. However, this season’s slump is horrendous as he has registered only one point in the club’s first six games.
1. There are a plethora of tacky expressions that could be used to describe the Staal brother’s slow start, but I’ll go with “Quit Staalin.” Carolina’s offense has lacked explosion and without at least one of the Staal brothers in a groove, it will be tough for the team’s attack to get going. Perhaps a game against a less physical team like the ‘Hawks is exactly what they need, but we won’t find out until tomorrow night.
What are your thoughts on the Hurricanes?
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