RALEIGH, N.C. – While the Carolina Hurricanes continue on their current road swing before returning home to face Florida on Friday, fans watching have to be excited about the team’s winning exploits over the past week.
Not only is this team winning, but it’s scoring goals in bunches to do so.
Twenty-three goals in five games is quite impressive for a team that was struggling to post a season average of two, give or take a decimal point, up to that point.
On Saturday, Arizona overcame a 4-1 deficit to Carolina in the third period and tied the game 4-4 with 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
Thankfully for the Carolina faithful, forward Victor Rask scored 53 seconds into overtime to post the Hurricanes’ fourth win in their last five games.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Hurricanes have recorded five or more goals in four consecutive games for the first time since Mar. 1-7, 1987, in their previous existence as the Hartford Whalers.
Head coach Bill Peters had previously warned that he didn’t want his squad to get in a so-called ‘track meet’ with opposing teams and wanted to maintain its ‘structure’ in offensive and defensive play.
They didn’t, and ended up losing more than they won.
Winning just twice in the seven games at home preceding their current streak, they barely scratched the surface of adding to their scoring average.
While on their current road trip, they’ve now bumped it upwards.
That scoring surge has made it required watching to see if it’s all a short-lived occurrence or not.
They haven’t slowed down, and have created some interesting finishes in the process.
Last Tuesday, they clawed their way back against Dallas, down 5-1 before tying the game, but still lost 6-5 during the dying seconds of regulation.
However, posting back-to-back 5-1 and 5-4 wins over Anaheim and Arizona in successive nights starting on Friday, has many wondering where all of this offense was during those close games that were lost throughout the season previously.
Maybe, or just a different focus.
Sitting at 12-14-4 overall, playing sound defensively while maintaining Peters’ ‘structure’ has gotten this year’s squad only so far.
He cried out for goals, for players to step up offensively, but not by sacrificing the coveted structure.
Yes, losing a game 6-5 is just as heart-breaking as falling 3-2, but way more entertaining to watch.
Rather than trying to hold one’s attention following a neutral-zone soccer-style deadlock in which two teams fight over puck possession with scoring opportunities at half speed, a knock-down, shoot ‘em-up scoring race to the finish is a lot more intriguing.
Maybe it’s all happened as a result of holding to the team’s structured play, or maybe that increased scoring and resultant wins now allows for a relaxed expectation to hold the opponent to less than three goals per game.
Regardless of the score, a win always feels good.
At this point in the season, if Carolina continues to win in this manner, it can only make it more interesting to watch.
Keeping everyone on the edge of their seat at PNC Arena will return the energy levels to what season ticket holders and casual fans alike want and need to see.
Winning will heighten expectations and will boost higher heart rates if this team can continue on this trend.
Victories will come, but so will losses – expect that.
With much more to watch for during a high-scoring game, the thrill of a win will be equally matched with the pain of suffering a loss.
However, if a loss is the final result, it will feel a lot better to accept than watching a less-than-compassionate-looking display of effort
At this point, it’s just a matter of perspective and scoring more goals provides much more exciting possibilities for Carolina fans to appreciate than what was offered up previously.