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October 2019
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NHL Metropolitan Division Preview: Eastern Conference finalist Carolina Hurricanes ready to go further this year

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAROLINA HURRICANES: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Hurricanes enter 2019-20 looking to build on their run to the 2019 Conference Finals. After posting 46 wins and 99 points last season, a return to the playoffs would see Carolina qualify for postseason play in consecutive campaigns for the second time since the franchise relocated to Raleigh in 1997-98. The only time they did so was from 2000-01 to 2001-02.

Carolina also sets its sights on collecting at least 90 standings points in back-to-back seasons for the second time in Hurricanes/Whalers franchise history (2007-08—2008-09).

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* The Hurricanes opened the 2018-19 season with a franchise record-tying five-game point streak (4-0-1 from Oct. 4-13). Only 18 teams in NHL history have posted a season-opening point streak of at least five games in consecutive seasons, with just three occurrences in the last 10 seasons: Montreal (9 GP in 2015-16, 10 GP in 2016-17), San Jose (8 GP in 2012-13, 9 GP in 2013-14, 5 GP in 2014-15) and Toronto (5 GP in 2010-11, 5 GP in 2011-12).

Sebastian Aho had an assist in each of his first 12 games to start 2018-19, matching Wayne Gretzky (1982-83) and Ken Linseman (1985-86) for the longest such run in NHL history.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* Fresh of recording a career-high 83 points in 2018-19, Sebastian Aho (30-53—83 in 82 GP) can become the fourth player in Hurricanes/Whalers franchise history to collect at least 80 points in consecutive seasons. Ron Francis (3; 1982-83—1984-85), Pat Verbeek (1989-90—1990-91) and Mike Rogers (1979-80—1980-81) are the only ones to do so, all with Hartford.

* With double digit goal totals in four of the last five campaigns, Justin Faulk (85-173—258 in 559 GP) enters 2019-20 only 15 goals shy of becoming the first defenseman in franchise history – and first from the 2010 NHL Draft – to record 100 career tallies. Faulk also needs three assists to tie Glen Wesley (176) for second place in franchise history among defensemen and 23 to tie Dave Babych (196) for the most among Hurricanes/Whalers blueliners.

Dougie Hamilton scored 18 goals in 2018-19, the highest single-season total by a defenseman since the club relocated to Raleigh. Only Mark Howe (24 in 1979-80 & 19 in 1980-81) and Zarley Zalapski (20 in 1991-92) hit the mark with Hartford.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
Andrei Svechnikov, who will not celebrate his 20th birthday until March 26, 2020, looks to follow his rookie campaign (20-17—37 in 82 GP) with another 20-goal season. Only four players have scored more than 20 goals for the Hurricanes/Whalers as a teenager: Sylvain Turgeon (55-46—101 in 101 GP), Jeff Skinner (51-56—107 in 146 GP), Ron Francis (47-95—142 in 122 GP) and Sebastian Aho (24-25—49 in 82 GP).

BETWEEN THE PIPES
Petr Mrazek (23-14-3 in 2018-19) can join Arturs Irbe (1998-99—2001-02) as the second goaltender to earn 20 or more wins in each of his first two seasons with the franchise.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with the Hurricanes/Whalers. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 2 – 4 players; most recent: Brad Defauw (March 10, 2003)
Most assists: 3 – Rick MacLeish (Oct. 6, 1981) and Alexander Godynyuk (Dec.18, 1993)
Most points: 3 – 5 players; most recent: Ray Whitney (Oct. 22, 2005)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 2 – Gillies Lupien (Feb. 22, 1981) and James Patrick (Nov. 3, 1993)
Most assists: 3 – Alexander Godynyuk (Dec.18, 1993)
Most points: 3 – James Patrick (Nov. 3, 1993) and Alexander Godynyuk (Dec.18, 1993)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 40 – Mark Fitzpatrick (Feb. 15, 2000)
Shutout: none

First season with the Hurricanes/Whalers. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 56 – Blaine Stoughton (1979-80)
Most assists: 61 – Mike Rogers (1979-80)
Most points: 105 – Mike Rogers (1979-80)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 24 – Mark Howe (1979-80)
Most assists: 56 – Mark Howe (1979-80)
Most points: 80 – Mark Howe (1979-80)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 38 – Martin Gerber (2005-06)
Most Shutouts: 6 – Arturs Irbe (1998-99)

 

PREVIEW WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com