As we approach the end of the NHL regular season, many teams are hoping to clinch their spots in the all-important Stanley Cup Playoffs. So far only three teams seem to have guaranteed their spot in the playoffs, with the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche currently having passed the 96 point berth that usually would guarantee a team a spot in the playoffs. With that knowledge, how could the Hurricanes shape up for the playoffs?
First Round Potential Match-Up
If the standings stay as they currently are, the Hurricanes would secure themself the top-seed matchup in the Metropolitan Division, which would see them face off against the Boston Bruins, who they have managed to pull out a win against each time during the regular season this year, with one game left against one another. Overall, the Hurricanes haven’t had a hard time handling the Bruins so far this season, and due to a lacklustre trade deadline for the Bruins, that doesn’t seem likely to change.
The heroes in this matchup seem likely to be Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho, as both have put up points each time they have faced off against the Bruins and have looked strong all throughout the season. Defensively, Anthony DeAngelo and Jaccob Slavin have had amazing seasons and look like they should be able to make an impact in stopping the Bruins from putting up points. The other player who looks ready to shut down the team is Frederik Andersen who has had a comeback season that has already earned him some praise as a player of the month for the Hurricanes.
Key Players for the Playoffs
As was early mentioned as the key players for the first-round matchup, Svechnikov, Aho, DeAngelo, Slavin, and Andersen will all be key players throughout the playoffs to try and make a deep run and possibly bring the Cup to Carolina. Another player who cannot have his importance understated is captain Jordan Staal, as the veteran leader has some experience hoisting the cup, and will certainly be important to bring together his teammates and elevate the level of play to push through the playoffs.
Other important players could be the new acquisitions of the Hurricanes from this year. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Max Domi are both looking stronger with the team than they had before their arrival, with both needing a short amount of time with the team to get comfortable before integrating into Brind’Amour’s system and showing that they deserve their spot in the lineup. Finally, young sensation Seth Jarvis could make a solid impact in his first NHL playoff year as he has become a mainstay in the Hurricanes lineup this past season.
The Hurricanes could certainly make a deep push in the playoffs and look like they are hungry for a Stanley Cup, but only time will tell how deep they will get in the tournament, as last year they went out against the eventual cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning.
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