The Hurricanes are back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in five years! After taking down the Islanders in six games and the Devils in five, the team will get a great opportunity for a little rest before meeting either the Florida Panthers or the Toronto Maple Leafs in the next round. With just three losses so far, Carolina currently has the best winning percentage in this year’s postseason. That’s impressive enough as it is, but what makes it even better is the fact that they’re doing it without some very key pieces.
Everyone Pitching In
Max Pacioretty, Andrei Svechnikov and Tuevo Teravainen are all out for the year. When three top six forwards are out for an already defensive team, doubts will certainly arise in the playoffs. However, it hasn’t been much of an issue for Carolina, as eleven different players have registered at least six points in the postseason. Of all the teams remaining, Dallas is the next closest to that number with eight players. The next-man-up team mentality for the Hurricanes is certainly working right now, and with so many guys clicking on both sides of the puck, it’s no wonder they’re so tough to beat.
Not only is the offence rolling, but Carolina’s defensive play and goaltending has been everything we expected in the playoffs as well. Besides a tough Game 3 in New Jersey, Frederik Anderson has been awesome for the Hurricanes. He leads the remaining starters in the leauge with an SVP of .931 and a GAA of 1.80. On the blueline, Carolina’s group of veterans is getting the job done and then some. Brent Burns, Brent Pesce and Jaccob Slavin have all pitched in with at least six points while averaging over 21 minutes of ice time per game. Slavin has been particularly good defensively and leads the team and the league with a plus/minus of +14.
All in all, the Carolina Hurricanes are legit. Even without three difference makers at forward, Rod Brind’Amour has the team playing with excellent structure and discipline all over the ice. Unlike the Panthers and Maple Leafs, they’ve been here before and will get home-ice advantage in the next round. Will this finally be the year Carolina goes the distance for the first time since winning the cup in 2006? We’ll find out soon.
Make your playoff picks for a chance to win cash in our FREE Daily NHL contests at http://officepoolsbets.com