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RealBitsOfPanther

2016/17 Carolina Hurricanes

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Watching Edmonton game. First shot from Edmonton in the game, Cam lets in. Easy goal. SMH

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Goal tending is an issue for this team. If this team is in playoff contention around the deadline, I would not be surprised to see Francis make a move. They've been fun to watch so far this season though. 

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On 11/28/2016 at 3:03 PM, Mother Grabber said:

we got Florida's coach fired. lol

Poor guy had to hail a Taxi to get to the airport in Raleigh. That's some cold blooded poo right there.

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Well, we are right on the outer edge of a wild card spot right now. If we can get and stay 100% healthy, I think we're fine. Cam has played better this season than he has in a long time. Guy has been phenomenal. Aho and Teuvo have been steady players that have taken pressure off of Skinner to score, and it has helped his game. He seems much more relaxed and isn't pressing as hard, which is a good thing. Really like what I have seen so far this season. We're still not ready I don't think to compete in the playoffs, but I think we can absolutely get into the playoffs. A young, scrappy team that is slowly figuring out how to finish games.

That has a ring to it, doesn't it?

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13 hours ago, iamcline said:

I still think we can get in and win a series at the very least.

 

After seeing Cam over the last, what, 15 consecutive starts? Yeah, I am confident that we will be fine. Cam is showing what I said at the start of the year. He's a guy you have to roll with for longer periods of time. He gets better when he has consecutive games and he finds his groove. A 3-1 split rotation works, but Cam can easily do a 9-2 rotation and be fine. If he's feeling fine tonight, I say go with him again. Stick with him until he is just too tired to take a night, then sit him for 2-3 games and go right back to him.

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So, last night happened. Columbus beat us. It was ugly. Not ugly like that weird looking cousin you see every 3 years when you go to that family reunion that has that side of the family you avoid. No no, this was worse. This was mid-surgery Bruce/Caitlin transition ugly.

OK, maybe I'm overreacting. We did lose in impressive fashion. For those who aren't sadomasochists, the Hurricanes lost 4-1 to the Blue Jackets. Know what's better than a 4 game win streak? A 5 game win streak. Know what we don't have? Consistent power play production. Oh, and a 5 game win streak. We also don't have that.

All is not bad in this effort though. Sebastian Aho managed to beat Bobrovsky once over the glove. It was a pretty slick goal too.

https://www.nhl.com/video/t-2832868

Teravainen throws a beautiful pass from the board to the far post where Aho finishes. The chemistry is there with these two.

So, you're probably wondering, "where did they fall apart?"

Literally right after that goal. From that goal forward, until halfway through the 2nd period, there was nothing to be happy about. Some decent effort by guys like Teravainen and Aho and Skinner, but aside from that....this was a train wreck of a game. We had a 1-0 lead for....11 seconds.

After the tying goal, we were in a tied game for 35 seconds.

Then it kept coming.

Midway through the 2nd period, after letting in 4 goals on 19 shots, Cam Ward is pulled. Now to be fair, some were not his fault entirely. Jordan Staal screened him on a high ripper from the point and it just beat him over his shoulder. Another was a power move directly across the crease where he just couldn't keep up with a faster skater. Another was a tough rebound that was caused by not quite being able to glove the initial shot. The problem is that Cam Ward, over his last 15 games, has lead us to believe that he should be making all of those saves. And he can, as he has shown. I just think he was tired and Bill Peters was sold out on riding Cam until the wheels fell off. And fell off they did.

So, for those not in-the-know, Leighton got sent to Charlotte and Alex Nedeljkovic was called up. Nedeljkovic was an absolute monster in Juniors and showed great promise in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades before cracking the Checkers roster and struggling a little bit while showing flashes of brilliance. The idea was to give Leighton a brief conditioning stint and bring him back up once he's at 100%, while Nedeljkovic just backed Cam up. 

I'm high on Nedeljkovic. Like, really high. I have gone so far as to say that Nedeljkovic is our future in net since I saw him play in Charlotte just before the holidays. Why? Well, first and foremost, his sick set-up.

Nedeljkovic_12-20.jpg

 

 

Now, aside from those beautiful pads, he is a great goaltender. He's young (21) and he positions himself quickly and stays square to shots. He also seems to do well tracking rebounds and moving his head before adjusting his body. Really solid, fundamental goalie who is only going to improve.

Having said all that, for a guy making his NHL debut while down 4-1 while in his home state of Ohio....the kid did well. He faced 17 shots and made 17 saves. Now, I don't think he's ready to take Cam's job or anything, but this kid faced some tough shots and stood his ground on all of them. It wasn't like Columbus backed off when he came in. No, he faced blasters. Unable to link a decent video, but Google it.

Anyway, Nedeljkovic did good stuff and the rest of the team was terri-bad.

Our penalty kill did well. Water is also wet.


So, that was how the night ended. We couldn't establish any offense in the third whatsoever and we just looked flat. After those two back-to-back goals, the Hurricanes were deflated and you could see it watching them skate. Maybe this team is THAT much different on the road. Maybe the last 15 games got the team big-headed and they needed the humility. Maybe Kirk Muller slipped some of his blood into Bill Peters drink and took over his mind for a game. Who knows? All I know is we have a couple of days to prepare for a Penguins team that is looking to stick with Washington and Columbus atop the Metro while the Rangers, Flyers, and Hurricanes are slowly gaining. Depending on how Pittsburgh does in the game tonight, Friday night may well be them fighting to stay in the top 3 of the division. And depending on how Philly does, it could be us fighting to stay in the wild card hunt.

 

Big game coming up. Cam is getting the start. Start getting excited, folks. Our next 3 weeks will likely tell us if we're truly playoff worthy.

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Gameday 45: 

Carolina (21 - 16 - 7) vs Pittsburgh (28 - 11 - 5) 

PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC 

7:00 FSCR 

Tonight the Hurricanes welcome the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to Raleighwood in what will be a measuring stick game. The Hurricanes return home for this one after lackluster effort against the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this week before heading back to Columbus tomorrow night. In the last 16 home games, the Canes are 14-1-1 and on a 5 game win streak. This is a totally different team at home vs the road, where their record is a disappointing  6-12-6. Also, something to look for,Ron Hainsey has a chance to get to 200 career assists tonight.

 

The Penguins roll into this 3rd in the Metro (still the dumbest name for a division) and are currently on a 2 game win streak. They won a wild one against the Caps and soundly beat the Habs this week. The Penguins are pretty banged up on their defensive blue line right now. They will be without the services of Kris Letang tonight, who is one of the most dynamic two way players in the game. 

If the Canes win tonight, they will be tied with Toronto and Philly for the second wild card spot. Tonights game and tomorrows vs Columbus is going to tell us a lot about the Canes. 

Projected Starting Lineups: 

Carolina: 

Skinner - Rask - Ryan 

McGinn - Staal - Linds 

Aho - Teravainen - Stemp 

Nordstrom - McClement - Stalberg 

Hainsey - Faulk 

Slavin - Pesce 

Hanifin - Tennyson 

Ward/Leighton 

 

Pittsburgh: 

Sheary- Crosby - Hornqvist 

Guentzel - Malkin - Rust 

Hagelin - Bonino - Kessel 

Kunitz - Fehr - Wilson 

Cole - Schultz 

Maatta - Daley 

Gaunce - Ruhwedel 

Murray/Fleury 

 

Players to Watch: 

Cam Ward 

cam-ward-nhl-carolina-hurricanes-new-york-rangers.jpg

Cam Ward has been very solid this year, despite what a lot of ya'll are saying. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the tough game he had the other night when he was chased out of the crease by Douche Jenner and the Blue Jackets. With the exception of the 09 playoffs (pretty sure Malkin still owns some shares of PNC Arena from that series) he plays pretty well against the Penguins. 

 

Honorable Mention: Canes young Defense 

They will have their hands full tonight with the Penguins forward lines. Any team that can throw a line with Sidney Crosby, followed by Evgeni Malkin and then followed by Haglan/Bonio/Kessler is going to be very good. Here's to hoping that the young D can hold the fort. 

 

For the Penguins

Sidney Crosby

sidney-crosby-nhl-chicago-blackhawks-pittsburgh-penguins.jpg

 

Why? Because he's Sidney fuging Crosby. 

 

Final Thoughts: 

Look for Bill Peters to try and get Skinners line out against Maatta and Daley who have struggled with speed guys all year. If we can get a quick one, it will allow us to develop some confidence and get to our game. Special teams will be interesting to watch as the Canes have the best PK in the league while the Pens have the 3rd best Powerplay. Defense is going to have to provide a better effort than what we saw against Columbus earlier this week, or this will get out of hand quick. 

 

Let's do this. 

00331b6635d6ece89cb727faf0644a8f.gif

 

LET'S GO CANES

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The TSA line will do fine I think. Stemp can match up physically with the top two lines for Pitt and Teuvo/Aho can match speed. Will be interesting. Probably will be a game of mistakes and bad turnovers. Whoever can play the more complete game. I'm not sure Cam's confidence can carry us if we're giving up good looks to their top 6 all game.

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The Penguins game sold me on Cam not having a resurgence as much as dumb luck behind a defense that limits the type of shots he sees on a nightly basis. He gave up three (at least) five hole goals. No thank you. Take that to the SPHL.

I still believe we can win a Playoff series but it wont be because of Cam, we'll win in spite of him.

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