If you haven’t already started to think differently about the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s not too late to begin.
— In their last 26 games, the ‘Canes have a record of 15-7-4. Only four teams have gained more points in their last 26 games than Carolina has. The first of the four, the Caps, are a popular pick to win the Stanley Cup. The next two, the Panthers and Blackhawks, each had a 12-game winning streak over that stretch. The fourth, the Kings, have been one of the NHL’s top teams for practically the entire season.
— The ‘Canes started 2015-16 poorly, going 8-13-4 in their first 25 contests. But remember, they were generally satisfied with how they were playing. Said GM Ron Francis back in November: “The frustrating thing for us is that in five of our losses we clearly were the better team but did not win.”
— Goaltending was a weakness early on. It’s been better of late. Cam Ward‘s save percentage in January is .925. Eddie Lack‘s is .924. The latter made some adjustments to his technique. “I’m at a pretty good state with my game right now,” he said earlier this month.
— No team surrenders fewer shots per game than Carolina (26.5), and only three teams have a higher shot differential (+3.6)
— Last night in Raleigh, the Hurricanes dominated the defending Stanley Cup champs from Chicago, outscoring them 5-0 and outshooting them 40-26.
“When we get contributions throughout the lineup, we’re a good team,” coach Bill Peters told reporters. “We’ve been a good team here for a while now.”
The ‘Canes still have some work to do in order to climb into a playoff spot. While they’re only one point back of the final wild-card spot in the East, the team that holds that spot, Pittsburgh, has played three fewer games.
But this next month could be an interesting one for Francis. Not long ago, everyone figured the ‘Canes would be a seller at the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
What if they keep winning?