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By the Numbers: At the Quarter Mark of 2017-2018

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A look at the stats from the first 20 or so games and how they compare to last year’s marks.

Justin Williams, Derek Ryan, Jeff Skinner, and Noah Hanifin celebrate a goal during a recent win over the Nashville Predators
Jamie Kellner

It’s an oft-repeated saying in hockey that if you’re not in a playoff spot at American Thanksgiving, you probably won’t be at the end of the season either. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving has passed, and the Hurricanes do not currently find themselves in a playoff spot.

But not all hope is lost! The Canes have games in hand on pretty much every team they’re contending with, and besides, a season ago, quite a few teams who were on the outside looking in on Turkey Day ended up in the dance regardless.

Here’s a look at how this season’s Hurricanes stack up against last year’s edition so far.

Standings

Category Thru 11-30-17 Thru 11-30-16 2016-2017
Category Thru 11-30-17 Thru 11-30-16 2016-2017
Record 10 - 8 - 5 9 - 9 - 4 36 - 31 - 15
Points 25 22 87
Division Rank 7 Metro 7 Metro 7 Metro
Conference Rank 10 EC 14 EC 12 EC
Last Ten Games 5 - 3 - 2 6 - 4 - 0 4 - 4 - 2
Streak Lost 1 Lost 1 Won 1
Pt % 0.54 0.5 0.53
Pts/GP 1.09 1 1.06
Pts Pace 89 82 87

As you can see, the Hurricanes are off to a slightly better start this season when compared to last just about any way you slice it. The record is better, they’re closer to a playoff position. It also helps that teams like Washington and Pittsburgh who were running away with playoff spots this time a season ago have come back down to earth, making Carolina’s path to the playoffs a bit more feasible.

Here’s where the Hurricanes sit against their Eastern conference foes.

Wild Card

Team GP W L OT PTS ROW PT %
Team GP W L OT PTS ROW PT %
Washington Capitals 26 14 11 1 29 12 0.56
Pittsburgh Penguins 26 13 10 3 29 13 0.56
New York Rangers 25 13 10 2 28 12 0.56
Carolina Hurricanes 23 10 8 5 25 8 0.54
Montreal Canadiens 26 12 12 3 25 11 0.5
Detroit Red Wings 26 10 11 5 25 8 0.48

The Hurricanes sit four points behind Pittsburgh and Washington, with three and two games in hand on them respectively. Tomorrow night’s opponent, the New York Rangers, sits three points ahead of Carolina with the Canes having two games in hand.

It looks like pretty much a sure thing already that we’ll see five Metropolitan division teams in the postseason, so those divisional matchups are going to get very important very quickly. It starts tonight at MSG.

Team Stats

Stat Thru 11-30-17 Thru 11-30-16 2016-2017
Stat Thru 11-30-17 Thru 11-30-16 2016-2017
Goals/game 2.87 (17) 2.41 (19) 2.59 (20)
Goals against/game 2.91 (12) 2.64 (18) 2.80 (18)
Shots/game 35.7 (1) 29.9 (14) 30.4 (14)
Shots against/game 29.5 (4) 27.3 (5) 28.3 (5)
ES CF% 55.27 (1) 53.1 (4) 51.39 (6)
ES SH% 7.38 (22) 7.0 (18) 7.43 (19)
ES SV% 91.5 (24) 91.2 (27) 91.17 (29)
ES PDO 98.9 (24) 98.1 (27) 98.6 (26)
PP% 15.6 (29) 19.7 (11) 17.7 (21)
PK% 77.8 (21) 89.7 (1) 84.2 (6)
Faceoff % 52.7 (3) 52.7 (2) 53.1 (4)
PIM / Game 05:02 (1) 06:43 (2) 05:48 (1)

The Hurricanes are shooting more and scoring a good bit more this season, but they’re also allowing more shots and more goals. This year’s Canes are also the dominant possession team in the league, as no other team has a corsi share above 54%, let alone Carolina’s 55.27%.

This makes sense when you consider that among this team’s core defenders, only Hanifin has improved, and the other big three have taken somewhat of a step back.

The biggest thing holding the team back here might be the decrease in performance of the penalty kill. What was an elite unit last year has fallen back to being firmly below average this year.

As the least penalized team in the league, the Hurricanes need to take maximum advantage of their huge edge in power play opportunities over penalty killing situations by having strong special teams units. If the Canes can improve the performance of those units while keeping them out there just as often, this team will be very tough to beat.

Record When...

Category Thru 11-30-17 Thru 11-30-16 2016-2017
Category Thru 11-30-17 Thru 11-30-16 2016-2017
Leading after One Period (rank) 4-0-1 (12) 3-2-1 (28) 16-5-6 (26)
Leading after Two Periods (rank) 5-1-2 (29) 6-1-3 (30) 20-2-6 (28)
One-goal games (rank) 3-4-5 (30) 6-5-2 (23) 18-10-15 (26)
When scoring first (rank) 8-1-1 (5) 3-4-2 (30) 18-9-7 (25)
Overtime (Pt%) 0-2 (.000) 0-3 (.000) 5-9 (.357)
Shootout (Pt%) 2-3 (.400) 1-1 (.500) 3-6 (.333)
Home (Pt%) 5-4-3 (.542) 6-3-0 (.667) 23-12-6 (.634)
Away (Pt%) 5-4-2 (.545) 3-6-4 (.384) 13-19-9 (.427)

Last year started out on a sour note when the Hurricanes began the season by blowing two three-goal leads. Both of those games resulted in painful overtime losses that did not get the season started on the right foot.

One goal games have not been this team’s strong suit so far this season, but that may actually be a good sign, as record in one goal games tends to even out for a team over the course of a full season. It’s winning convincingly more than you lose convincingly that makes a big difference.

This year’s Carolina team is also doing much better when leading after the first period, and even slightly better when leading after two. Still though, that record when leading after two has to strengthen up. It’s been a sore spot on head coach Bill Peters’s record throughout his tenure here, and winning when having a lead after two is something that playoff teams get done.

And don’t look now, but that road record is a pretty encouraging sign, too.

Player Stats

Player GP Goals Assists Points Pts/GP
Player GP Goals Assists Points Pts/GP
Teuvo Teravainen 23 8 13 21 0.913
Sebastian Aho 23 5 13 18 0.783
Justin Williams 23 4 13 17 0.739
Jeff Skinner 23 9 7 16 0.696
Jordan Staal 23 7 9 16 0.696
Noah Hanifin 23 4 9 13 0.565
Brock McGinn 22 6 6 12 0.545
Elias Lindholm 23 6 6 12 0.522
Derek Ryan 23 5 7 12 0.522
Victor Rask 21 4 3 7 0.333
Justin Faulk 23 1 6 7 0.304
Josh Jooris 17 3 3 6 0.353
Jaccob Slavin 23 2 4 6 0.261
Brett Pesce 20 0 4 4 0.2
Haydn Fleury 22 0 4 4 0.182
Marcus Kruger 22 0 4 4 0.182
Joakim Nordstrom 23 2 2 4 0.174
Trevor van Riemsdyk 20 0 3 3 0.15
Phil di Giuseppe 5 0 1 1 0.2
Klas Dahlbeck 4 0 0 0 0

Teuvo Teravainen’s emergence as a legitimate first line scoring threat has been arguably the biggest storyline among individual players for the Canes this season. Jeff Skinner started the season on a torrid goal-scoring pace, but has cooled off of late. He’ll need to get going again soon.

Justin Williams was brought in to provide offensive production depth, and he has delivered on that. Brock McGinn’s production has been a pleasant surprise as well

The two obvious guys who need to step it up a notch are Justin Faulk and Victor Rask, though the latter has looked better since his two-game stint as a healthy scratch recently.

Team Leaders

Stat Player Total
Stat Player Total
Goals Skinner 9
Points Teravainen 21
PPP Teravainen 6
GWG Staal 2
Shots Skinner 84
Sh % McGinn 18.2
Total TOI Slavin 541 :14
TOI/GP Slavin 23 :21
PP TOI Faulk 75 :08
SH TOI Slavin 70 :12
FO% Ryan 56.2
Plus/Minus Staal 7
CF% Kruger 59.1
PDO Rask 103.5
PIM Williams 18
Hits Staal 60
Blk Sh Slavin 53
Takeaways Skinner 22

Skinner still shoots the puck, a lot. Slavin is still on the ice, a lot.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise here is the fact that Marcus Kruger leads the team in 5v5 corsi share. Brought into replace Jay McClement, who was a black hole in terms of possession, Kruger has done everything asked of him and more as he has flipped the script of how a Hurricanes fourth line plays.

Even on a team that almost never gets penalized, it’s kind of funny to see Justin Williams leading an NHL team in penalty minutes.

Goalies

Goalie Record SV% GAA
Goalie Record SV% GAA
Thru 11-30-17
Darling 7 - 6 - 5 0.905 2.66
Ward 3 - 2 - 0 0.907 3.03
Thru 11-30-16
Ward 7 - 7 - 3 0.915 2.29
Lack 1 - 2 - 1 0.856 3.79
2016-2017
Ward 26-22-12 0.905 2.69
Lack 8 - 7 - 3 0.902 2.64

The acquisition of Scott Darling as the new starting goalie was heralded to be one of the best hockey moves of the off-season, but he hasn’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations placed upon him with the four-year contract the Hurricanes to ensure he came to Raleigh.

He’s been good though, and he’s shown signs of being ready to grow into the number one role that the Canes acquired him to fill. At the absolute worst, he’s been a solid upgrade over Eddie Lack, whose stint in Calgary has not gotten off to the best start.

Cam Ward has performed about how we’re used to him performing, though prior to a tough start against Toronto, his numbers were pretty strong for a backup goaltender.