I know optimism is the root of all disappointment, especially in sports, but the heart wants what the heart wants.
The Carolina Hurricanes are only three games into their long and lustrous 82 game season but Bill Peters’ system has caught the interest of Canes nation early on. Already earning four points through their first three, the team won their first contest while dropping their second in overtime, just like last season. They lost last nights game by just one goal.
The offense has been active, outshooting their first three opponents 109-75. The offense has been active but efficient, smothering defenses by long passes along the boards. Carolina’s speed has been an invaluable factor in their first three games. Sebastian Aho and Jeff Skinner look like elite skaters, which is the look Peters has been longing for.
Behind this offensive output has been the figure of anticipation in Raleigh all summer; Scott Darling.
Through his first three games, Darling has allowed a total of eight goals. While that number is high, keep in mind he shutout the Columbus Bluejackets until the last ten minutes of the third period. He is currently allowing 2.58 goals a game while showing a weak .893 save percentage. He is 1-1-1 in these three games.
By the numbers, Darling is having an okay season so far, but not outputting the numbers at an extreme level, but getting the job done. However, it is apparent how much confidence the Canicacs have in him. In both of their home games, the crowd was into every save Darling made, with a hoard of applause coming after every big save, which he made countless of. Darling is making the big, highlight reel saves as well, not something most Carolinians are accustomed to.
It is an early prediction and certainly, this play does not reflect what is to come, but it’s a small luxury that has been a pleasant surprise thus far. The Hurricanes began their early season Canadian road trip last night against the Winnipeg Jets, with their next two games in Edmonton and Calgary. Darling will likely play in one of those games, giving us a chance to see Cam Ward in the role of the backup.
It is unclear how much Bill Peters will rely on Darling, perhaps using him at the rate of Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers, who played 73 games in the 2016 season. If Ward’s performance is solid enough, which I believe it will be, Darling should get plenty of rest.
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