Last night the Carolina Hurricanes were in Montreal to take on one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. In a building the Hurricanes had not won in since 2012 and facing Carey Price, the Canes knew they faced an uphill battle to keep their point’s streak alive. So what happened last night?
Let’s Go Streaking!
Elias Lindholm scored another goal last night pushing his career best points streak to nine games. His goal, seen below, is a perfect example of how important he has been to the Canes since December. To finally see him putting everything together is very promising for Hurricanes fans. There was a time back in late November many people thought Lindholm needed a trip to Charlotte, and now he has a career long point streak to go along with a career high points total.
Jeff Skinner is no stranger to being streaky. His empty net goal pushed his point streak to 5 games. He has goals in 4 straight games, and is doing everything every fan could ask of him right now. Watching his game all season, it’s easy to make an argument that he wants the ‘C’ on his chest next season. No other player has led on the ice like Skinner has, and he can regularly be seen either chewing out players for messing up or teaching the young guys how to correct their mistakes. Will the Canes name Skinner the next captain? It remains unlikely, but it is hard to make a strong argument against Skinner for the C.
Sebastian Aho had an assist on Lindholm’s goal, pushing his own point streak to five games as well. Aho is just as exciting as Skinner and proving night in and night out he is going to stand side by side with Skins as the face of the franchise for years to come. The most impressive thing about Aho’s game is he is not afraid to be physical and he is smart enough to kill penalties successfully at just 19 years old!
Tacos for everyone
Is there a goaltending controversy for the Carolina Hurricanes right now? Yes. Should there be? No! Eddie Lack has proven in his past 4 games that he deserved to get the majority of the games down the stretch. Since being called out by Bill Peters, Lack has put up fantastic numbers and has his own 3 game win streak going on in the past week. Lack made timely saves last night and even got a little help from a doctor when Derek Ryan bailed out his goalie during the 1st period.
Plenty of media members and fans have questioned Bill Peters and his loyalty to Cam Ward. Lack has been the better goaltending option but what happens going forward is truly unpredictable. Last night Lack made his case to keep getting starts, the question is will he?
The story of a journeyman
Leave it up to Lee Stempniak to get hot at the end of the season. (He must really want to be a Golden Knight.) No better stats describe a career journeyman than being good at the start and end of a season with a long stretch of nothing in the middle. Take a look at some of his work from last night:
Stempniak’s two goals last night got him to 14 on the season and his current line (granted it changes by the minute under Bill Peters) have produced four goals in two games. He will likely be a noticeable name as we go down the stretch as he is playing to try to keep his job in Carolina. That being said, currently he seems to be the most likely candidate to be taken by Vegas in the expansion draft.
The Hurricanes power play unit scored last night when Elias Lindholm netted his goal. The power play unit has come to life lately, paralleling the offensive streaks by the likes of Lindholm and Skinner. No doubt when these guys are on the ice - and are on a hot streak - the power play is a very dangerous unit.
We never get treated to the puck-slinging style of power play unit the elite teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins or Chicago Blackhawks have, but the Hurricanes are getting it done. It does not have to be pretty as we saw last night, just so long as it is effective.
Keeping this unit going will be key as we creep down the stretch. Any successful team needs their special teams to win games for them. The penalty kill unit has been very good for most all of the season while the power play has struggled. If the Hurricanes can continue to keep their power play rolling, they should have a very good shot at winning a lot of these remaining games.
The Jim Mora Meme That Will Never Die
It’s still a stretch, but the Hurricanes are putting their name in the hat with this nine-game point streak. They sit just five points back of the Boston Bruins who hold the final wild card spot — and the Canes have two games in hand. Unfortunately the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning sit squeezed in the middle with the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers nipping at the Canes’ heels.
The Islanders serve as the biggest threat, sitting at 80 points (just 2 back of Boston) but having played the same amount of games as the Hurricanes have. Is it possible? Yes it is. Likely? No. But then again we all know how the Canes got into the dance in 2009.
Moral of the Story
The Hurricanes quieted a sold out crowd in Montreal to extend their point streak with a complete effort. The win kept them alive in the playoff race and showed off the true leaders of the team. Jeff Skinner will not be stopped right now and neither will Elias Lindholm or Sebastian Aho. With these three guys hotter than a pot of boiling water, anything is possible for the Hurricanes on offense.
In order to keep pushing towards that final wild card spot the Canes need to continue to roll with what is hot and keep all of these streaks going. Up next is a New Jersey team who has given the Canes a major headache as of late.