The Carolina Hurricanes don’t intend to play scared against the high-powered Washington Capitals.
Why should they? The ‘Canes are actually playing some pretty decent hockey themselves. They’re 5-2-1 in their last eight.
“We’re going to try and have the puck and make them defend,” coach Bill Peters told NHL.com. “We’re not going to defend, defend, defend, chip it in and let them come at us. We’re going to try and make them play in their defensive zone and play a puck possession game ourselves.”
Of course, puck possession is one of the Hurricanes’ strengths. They rank among the NHL’s best in team Corsi.
It’s goaltending that’s really hurt them this season. Which is why it was so encouraging when Cam Ward made 37 saves in a 2-1 win over the Penguins on Saturday.
“I made a couple of good saves early that got me into the game,” Ward said, per CBS Pittsburgh. “I don’t really care what anybody says about the Penguins; they’ve got a really good team over there, some high-end skill, and you really have to be on your toes. Fortunately, tonight I felt really comfortable.”
Suffice to say, if Carolina is going to take a run at a playoff spot, Ward and backup Eddie Lack will need to be a lot better, because there’s a lot of ground to be made up in the standings.
With almost half the season in the books, Ward has an .899 save percentage. Lack’s is even worse, .876.
“To be honest, I don’t think it could have gone any worse,” Lack told The Province recently.
In the article, it was strongly suggested that Lack’s style may not be a good fit for Carolina’s goalie coach, David Marcoux.
“Here, they want me to challenge more,” said Lack. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been an adjustment. At times, it’s been really hard.”
Not surprisingly, Ward will start in goal tonight versus the Caps.
Related: ‘In five of our losses, we clearly were the better team’