While injuries were a reasonable – if frustratingly persistent – excuse, there wasn’t much use sugarcoating the Carolina Hurricanes going 0-6-2 in October. That same team is now undefeated in three November games, however, prompting fist bumps and smiles, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.
“The guys are playing hard,” Cam Ward said. “We pushed the pace early on (and) it was a complete effort by everybody. We’ve got a good thing going here and we want to keep it going.”
So, what can we take away from this three-game winning streak?
- Looking at the possession stats is probably kind of silly at this point. Just consider the comical contrast in their stats from October (fifth-worst) to November (second overall).
- Going simpler might be wiser then, at least for now. One promising trend is that the Hurricanes are out-shooting opponents. They did so by a slight margin in their last two losses of October and hold a 104-76 shot advantage during this run.
- Cam Ward has been playing considerably better. He has a shutout and three wins in this run. His overall numbers are still sub-backup-level (.886 save percentage, yikes), but hey … baby steps.
- From the “No, duh” department: The Hurricanes are better with Eric Staal than without him. He has a goal and two assists in his four games back from injury. Beyond the obvious addition of another legitimate scoring option, getting a player like Staal back creates a domino effect of benefits: players get the chance to slide back into more comfortable/specialized roles. Carolina might even start approach “somewhat competent” status once Jordan Staal’s healthy. (Maybe.)
It could be an interesting week-or-so for Carolina. They face the battered Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday and then the wobbling Washington Capitals on Saturday. After that, it’s the surprisingly hot Calgary Flames on Nov. 10.
Three games – or, really, the full 11 contests they’ve played so far – present a sample size that’s simply too small to draw any meaningful conclusions.
That said, there’s at least hope that the Hurricanes might not be as bad as they first seemed.
(Then again, maybe this will only hold true for a couple weeks. Mid-November presents five straight road games and six of seven away from Carolina, so they might just go through the meat grinder once more.)