Carolina Hurricanes: Behind Enemy Lines


Will the 4-3 curse rear its ugly head AGAIN tonight, Buffalo Sabres fans?  Let’s go behind enemy lines and see what’s what!

Jan 22, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing

Jiri Tlusty

(19) celebrates his goal with defenseman

Justin Faulk

(27) and center

Eric Staal

(12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Hurricanes defeated the Flyers, 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s Opponent: The Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 21-19-9, 51 pts.

Standings: Thirtenth in Eastern Conference

Current Streak: Won one

The Hurricanes are the latest cellar-dwelling team to face-off against the Buffalo Sabres.  As usual, though, the Hurricanes sport some respectable numbers (their 51 points put them only three behind eighth-place Columbus, and only eight points separate the ‘Canes from the fourth-place Canadiens), while the Sabres are without a doubt the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

So what do we know about the Hurricanes?   For starters, we know that they should probably change their name, as Mother Nature apparently hates them.  This month the ‘Canes have been forced to reschedule two games due to the weather, so unless they want an actual hurricane to be the next unstoppable force to alter their plans, I suggest they brainstorm a new team name, stat!

Seriously: the most relevant thing to discuss with Buffalo Sabres fans about these Carolina Hurricanes is that they are getting solid production from two players the Sabres cast away last season: Nathan Gerbe, and Andrej Sekera.  Sekera and Gerbe and the third- and fifth-highest scorers on this team right now, with 25 and 22 points, respectively.  Sekera has a +/- rating of 0, no small feat on a team that has been outscored by 19 goals on the season so far.  Meanwhile, Gerbe is playing bigger than his body, as always, having amassed 28 penalty minutes, fifth-most on the squad.   Good for him!  I know many of us Sabres fans are wishing him well, and possibly wishing he was still in Buffalo, too.

Much like the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Hurricanes are a team on the rise, having gone 7-3-0 over the course of their last ten games.  We’ve all seen how the Blue Jackets hot streak has propelled them into the number 8 spot in the East, so it’s possible that Carolina could find themselves in the playoff hunt should they secure points in tonight’s game.   (Two points could cause them to leapfrog over Washington into a tie with Ottawa and New Jersey, if everything goes Carolina’s way.)  That makes Carolina another dangerous team for the Sabres to face.

Jan 22, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie

Anton Khudobin

(31) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres have found new life on the offensive side of their game lately, having scored 3 goals in four consecutive games.  Scoring that many tonight could be a challenge, especially if the Sabres face goalie Anton Khudobin.  Khudobin, formerly of the Boston Bruins, was signed as a free agent back on July 5, and has played in 12 games for the ‘Canes, going 8-3-0 with a .933 save percentage and a GAA of just 2.05.  With Cam Ward on injured reserve, it’s likely that Khudobin gets the start tonight, which doesn’t bode too well for the Sabres.

Interesting tidbits:

Alexander Semin has four goals in his last three games – keep that in mind when you make your picks tonight, fans!

Eric Staal is riding a three-game points streak (1 goal, four assists)