While the Carolina Hurricanes may have kicked off the season with a 16-10-1 record, there’s still reason to be concerned: the remaining schedule seems to be quite a bit more difficult than the games that have already been played. Let’s take a look.
On the surface, it may not look like all that much of a difference. In their first 27 games, the teams that they faced averaged about 89.2 points last season. The average point total from last season of the teams they’ll face in the 55 remaining games is 91.9 points. It’s a bit of a difference– yet just 2.7 points doesn’t look all that daunting. But let’s dig a little deeper.
Through their first 27 games this year, they played eight against teams who currently have a losing record (made up of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Ottawa). They also played another six games against teams who are .500 or one just game above (ANA, CGY, CBJ, MIN, MTL). That’s 14 of 27 games (or about 52 per cent) against the bottom 10 teams in the NHL.
In terms of their difficult games thus far, they’ve played just four games (about 15 per cent) against teams currently above them in the league-wide standings (ARI, BOS, COL, EDM, NYI, PHI, STL, WSH). How many games against those same teams do they have left in their final 55 games? 19. That’s 35 per cent, which is a pretty significant increase.
Here’s a full breakdown:
First 27 games:
14.8% (4 of 27) vs top-8 teams
33.3% (9 of 27) vs middle-12 teams
51.9% (14 of 27) vs bottom-10 teams
Final 55 games:
34.5% (19 of 55) vs top-8 teams
41.8% (23 of 55) vs middle-12 teams
23.6% (13 of 55) vs bottom-10 teams
So yeah, there’s some reason for concern. As great as 16-10-1 is, you’d maybe like to see an even better record, considering how light their schedule was to start the year. They went 9-4-1 against the bottom 10 teams but just 7-6 against the others (and remember, only four of those 13 games were even against teams above them in the standings).
The Hurricanes are a good team– one that can certainly be competitive and has the potential to make another deep playoff run– but there's no doubt it'll only get tougher from here.
**NOTE (I’ll be posting this on the NYI blog as well): Recently, the majority of my articles have just been a matter of game previews and reviews. Simply put: they’re not generating much excitement or engagement. In all fairness, it’s hard to be excited for a consistent flow of game previews and reviews when they’re the same format and coming basically every day. Even I don't enjoy writing them as much as longer-form pieces.
As a result, I’ll no longer be doing game previews and reviews and instead will be switching back to mostly opinion/analysis or at least (hopefully) thought-provoking pieces, reactions to transactions, etc., similar to those that I was writing in the offseason. There may still be some previews/reviews for specific games but it’ll no longer be the bulk of the posts.*
For more, follow @BenShelley_20 on Twitter.
OTHER HURRICANES ARTICLES FROM DECEMBER
Game Recap (Game 27): CAR @ TBL