To put it in simple terms, the Carolina Hurricanes are killing it in November. They are playing the best hockey they have played all season, and it is like watching a different team on the ice. Every player on the team is finding their game. Most recently the ‘Canes avenged a 5-0 loss to the Calgary Flames in October with brilliant 4-1 win on home ice. Here are three reasons the Hurricanes are clicking on all cylinders at the perfect time in November.
I wrote about Cam Ward playing his best hockey of the season last week. He has continued his great play, and is making all the right saves for the ‘Canes. Defense has been better all around, but it looks like Ward is seeing pucks well and pushing rebounds away from the net. He also hasn’t had to deal with much traffic in front of the net. Something I noticed in the most recent Calgary game is that after falling behind one goal, Ward didn’t change his game. Playing from behind didn’t phase him, and he continued to make the saves he needed to make to keep the team in the game. Having a short memory is a good thing. He stayed strong throughout the rest of the game and made a huge save in the third period.
Big names, making big plays
Jeff Skinner looked great last night, and has really found his game in November. Last night he scored a gorgeous goal, and made a great pass in the slot that allowed Tim Gleason, (Yes Tim Gleason) score a goal in the slot. Eric Staal is playing the two-way hockey he is known for, and he has been the first line center that everyone has wants to watch for the ‘Canes. Elias Lindholm has exploded on the scene after having a slow October. He is becoming an offensive threat every time he is on the ice, and is making a lot of good things happen in the offensive zone with 5-goals and 3-assists. Justin Faulk is starting to play the hockey ‘Canes fans expect out of the defenseman. He is scoring goals, and making great passes that put forwards in spots they should be to score goals. Faulk is second on the team in points scoring 2-goals and contributing 8-assists.
Production from every line
It is easy for top line players to perform when you are getting solid play from bottom-six forwards. Boychuk and Chris Terry are really playing well no matter if they are playing together, or on separate lines. Zach Boychuk snuck a goal past Jonas Hiller last night to help the ‘Canes towards the win. Boychuk played in seven games for the ‘Canes last season, and scored only 1-goal. This season he has played in 12-games and scored 3-goals. Chris Terry is fifth on the team with 7-points. The Hurricanes broadcast team kept pointing out how well Jay McClement was playing against the Flames, and I couldn’t argue with them. McClement is playing great hockey and is working very well when paired with Skinner, and Semin. Riley Nash has been the best surprise though. He now leads the team with 11-points and is winning 54% percent of his face-offs this season.
The ‘Canes are winning games and that is what is important. The rest of November’s schedule looks tough for the ‘Canes. They have to travel Boston to play the Bruins, and then will have a home-and-home with the Pittsburgh Penguins this month. If they want to stay in the hunt it is important that they start stealing points from as many games as they can before meeting some of the more power teams in their conference. Do fans think the Hurricanes can keep up these winning ways?
Philip is a Sports Journalist covering the Pittsburgh Penguins. Duquesne University Journalism Grad 2013.