The Chicago Blackhawks head south to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in a final tune-up before the Winter Classic
Hoping to close out 2016 with two big points, the Chicago Blackhawks roll into PNC Arena tonight to square off against the Carolina Hurricanes. In the second of a three-game road trip, the Blackhawks face a dangerous Hurricanes team fighting to stay in the hunt for an Eastern Conference wild-card slot.
In this week’s Eye on the Enemy, we’ll talk with our FanSided colleague Matthew Barlowe, editor of Cardiac Cane, to get some insight to this year’s edition of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Sitting in sixth-place in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division, the Hurricanes are coming off a disappointing 3-2 Wednesday night loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that snapped a three-game win streak. With a record of 15-12-7, the Canes have won six of their last 10 games and are particularly pugnacious at PNC Arena, where they enjoy a 10-3-1 record on home ice.
Against the ‘Hawks in recent years it’s been feast-or-famine; the Hurricanes prevailed in both games last season after the Blackhawks swept the four previous games.
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Strong winds forecast tonight
Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask are Carolina’s top offensive producers, combining for 23 goals and 53 points on the season, while rookie winger Sebastian Aho has made an immediate impact with 6 goals and 18 points.
Resurgent in net, Cam Ward has found new life this year — his 12 wins, .917 save percentage and 2.27 goals against-average all rank among the top 10 in the Eastern Conference for goalies with at least 20 starts.
Carolina’s special teams have remained consistently strong all year. In December, the penalty-killing unit leads the league with a 92.6 percent kill rate, while the powerplay is 10th with a 21.9 percent success rate.
So with that introduction, let’s get to it with a Carolina fan’s perspective.