There is officially a Hurricane Warning up for the NHL. It may be later then normal but the Carolina Hurricanes have started to find their stride so this week. I put the league on notice that I am officially declaring a warning that the Hurricanes are about to make an impact. With that warning it looks like the Ducks are going to weather the storm just fine, but the Sharks have skated off to hide and try and regroup before things get much worse.
Analogies aside, the Hurricanes had a monster week. The Sharks, on the other hand, continued their lousy play. We will look at both teams this week, along with the Ducks who continue to play well, and finally we will do the usual check on the defending champs.
The Hurricanes had a great three-win week. Granted one of those wins were on Long Island against the Islanders, but they still got the win on the road. This is a team that has the goaltending and now it looks like Semin and the Staals are gelling into what might be a formidable offense. The Hurricanes surged into first place with their play and with a goaltender as good as Cam Ward it may be a spot they hold for a while.
Out west, the Ducks continued their surge holding first place in the Pacific Division with huge wins in Chicago and Detroit. Anaheim has opened a 3 game lead in the division which is huge when you realize you are fighting off the defending champions, along with the formidable Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes.
Then of course there is the San Jose Sharks, who only a few weeks ago looked like they were the best in the NHL — now they are barely holding on to second place in their own division. The Sharks are good enough to win the Pacific and the Western Conference, but losing 7 in a row is not anything a championship caliber team should be doing. Was the hot start just that? Or do these Sharks have something left in the tank to make a run and keep themselves in the hunt? It’s hard to say a 2nd place team is done but when your in a division as tough as the Pacific any single loss hurts let alone 7 in a row.
Staying in the Pacific Division, I get to do my duty and remind you that the Defending Stanley Cup Champions are the Los Angeles Kings, and unfortunately, they still aren’t playing like champions. The Kings sit 2 games out of the playoffs and would be the only Pacific team to miss the postseason right now. They have shown signs of life, here and there, but no where near the caliber of what made them the team to beat last year.
Game Of the Week:
Anaheim Ducks 5 Detroit Red Wings 2 – Friday February 15
For the first time, I am using a game that includes a team outside the Sunbelt — and that’s because any team going into Detroit and winning is hard enough; going in and winning with ease is even harder. The Ducks made it looks easy. After trading goals in the 2nd period, the Ducks came out and owned the 3rd scoring 3 unanswered goals. They put the league on notice that they will play hard no matter what city they go into and will find ways to win no matter what the schedule puts in front of them.