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Last Chance for Hurricanes?

The Carolina Hurricanes make their sixth straight playoff appearance, while facing the sudden closing of their Cup window

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 24 days ago 3 min read
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A loaded day in the NHL saw six teams with a chance to clinch a playoff spot, and the Carolina Hurricanes were one of the teams with that opportunity. This was their second chance to do so, but their first attempt saw the Hurricanes defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in what was a homecoming for Carolina's biggest deadline acquisition of the season, Jake Guentzel. Take Two came against the Detroit Red Wings, and all they needed was just two simple points. They would get them behind a Frederik Andersen shutout; a 4-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

So with the win, the Hurricanes are back in the playoffs for the sixth straight season, which is quite a long streak. Years ago, the Canes had one of the longest droughts in the league; in fact, their appearance in the 2019 playoffs was their first in a decade. That year saw the Canes make an unprecedented run to the Eastern Conference Final, but it was followed by a first round exit (2020) and two straight second-round exits (2021 and 2022). I still say last year was their best chance, and it was mainly because the Eastern Conference's main threats were all taken care of. Carolina did reach the Eastern Conference Final, but they were swept by the upstart Florida Panthers.

Sebastian Aho is my favorite player on the Hurricanes, but he doesn't get a lot of attention. I get he's not the big name star like guys such as Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, and Connor McDavid, but he gets the job done. The numbers certainly prove it, as he has 83 points in 71 games, with 32 of them being goals. Aho leads the team in both categories, but he has some good company with him as always. Seth Jarvis is second on the team in points (60) and goals (28), Martin Necas has 24 goals of his own, and Brady Skjei's 42 points lead Carolina's defensemen.

I mentioned Jake Guentzel; Carolina won that sweepstakes at the deadline, and he's been racking up the points since then. In ten games with the Hurricanes, Guentzel has 12 points (2 G/10 A). Goaltending has been an adventure for the Canes all season, mainly due to Frederik Andersen being sidelined for months. Antti Raanta vastly declined from his last two seasons, resulting in Pyotr Kochetkov receiving the bulk of the starts. He also has the bulk of the wins with 19, and he has three shutouts as well. As for Andersen, he has recently returned from injury, and hasn't lost a start since then.

In my "What Went Wrong" story about the Hurricanes last year, I basically said that last year was their best chance, and now, this year is "They better win, or else." Now, while they did nail down Sebastian Aho for eight more years (with the extension starting next season), there is still the matter of Teuvo Teravainen. He will be healthy in this year's playoffs, and without him, they still reached the Final Four. So a regression would really look bad, especially since he's a UFA after this year. The same goes for Jake Guentzel; the Penguins are only responsible for the rest of this year's salary, but after that, the Canes will either have to deal him or fork over some dough to keep him. All of these factors make this year very vital for the Canes. They have to (at least) reach the Final, if not win it. Anything else could mean trouble.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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  • Philip Gipson24 days ago

    This next story on the Hurricanes really got my senses tingling.

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