The Hurricanes have stormed themselves into a playoff spot, yes the last wild card spot in a tough Eastern Conference playoff race. But you have read that correctly the Hurricanes are in a playoff spot at the moment. Keywords “at the moment”, because how sure can we be that this team continues this play and actually sneaks their way into the playoffs.
Their most recent wins may make one think otherwise. The Hurricanes beat, Nashville, Vegas, Columbus, Pittsburgh twice and lost a tough one in overtime to the Capitals. They have won seven of their last ten and have scored 31 goals in the last ten. Production from Derek Ryan and Victor Rask, something they did not see earlier in the season has been there for the Hurricanes over their last ten. Forwards like Jeff Skinner and Sebastian Aho are leading the charge, Noah Hanifin has been a solid force on the back end. Of course, we cannot forget about Cam Wards 10 wins in his 12 starts, posting a .916 save percentage, and 2.33 goals against average. The Hurricanes are winning but their schedule does not get easier from here before they go on their bye week(Jan. 15- Jan. 19), the Hurricanes play Boston(tonight), Tampa Bay, Washington back to back and Calgary before the break. All playoff teams and all solid teams.
Let’s say this, the Hurricanes take six/seven of the possible ten points upcoming, it may be possible to see this team in the playoffs. It helps though that the Penguins and Islanders have been on a skid, well the Penguins all season and the Islanders recent five-game losing streak really helps the Hurricanes, secure a playoff spot right now. At the moment the playoff race is tight and the Hurricanes are one point ahead of the Penguins for the final wild-card spot(a win is major tonight!). Now, can we assume the Hurricanes continue this success for the remainder of the season? That would mean we have to see 33-year-old Cam Ward continue this performance for the rest of the season. Aho, Skinner and Tuevo Terevaninen will have to continue to lead the way on the front end while their depth production can find ways to stay afloat and continue their production. As well as Noah Hanifin and Justin Faulk will have to lead the power play as well be the force on the back end the Hurricanes have needed for a long time now. The Hurricanes defense, in general, is a solid group, with Jacob Slavin, Trevor Van Riemsdyk as well, they have four very solid defensemen and will be the driving factor to their success from this point on.
My prediction, hate to say it, but Hurricanes barely miss the playoffs, they go on a small skid that hurts their season and it will be tough to climb out of since the playoff race is so tight. Next season, I see the Hurricanes making it though.