The Canes started off the season with a 5-0-0 start, the best in franchise history. After ending the win streak with a loss to Columbus, the Canes put up 7 more points in the remaining October games.
On November 2, the Hurricanes began a four game losing streak (which is now broken). Now this isn’t of huge concern, but the teams the Canes are losing to imply a need for concern.
But, they started November off with a loss to the Red Wings, who currently have the worst record in the Metropolitan Division, the same division the Canes are in. Then they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Rangers, and finally to the Ottowa Senators who are also close to the bottom of their division.
Out of those four losses, the only loss which I would say can be ignored is their loss to the Rangers as the Canes played a good game with over 45 shots on goal. They simply could not score against the Rangers top goalie, Henri Lundvquist, who currently has a save percentage of .905%.
During the 2018-2019 season, hockey-veteran Justin Williams captained the Hurricanes. Williams previously played for the Canes with current head coach Rod Brind’amour, and won the 2006 Stanley Cup with Brind’amour as well. Williams brought a leadership quality to the Canes that they hadn’t seen in a while, after many seasons with Eric Staal as captain.
Williams brought players together, and gave them something to fight for, a fire that made the team want to win and believe they could. At the beginning of the 2019-2020 season, the Canes played the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team who had an incredible season last year, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Canes played Tampa Bay back in October and won 4-3. Captain Stephen Stamkos mentioned in one of the post-game interviews that Carolina was the team that wanted the win more – a common phrase used to describe Carolina’s work ethic leading up to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and during the playoffs as well.
Part of this fire to win came from Justin Wiliams and the culture he helped create for this Canes team. Having a player with experience on multiple teams, as well as playoff experience, gives younger players someone to look up to and someone to ask the tough questions, in the words of Hurricanes LW Warren Foegele.
Williams has also been in the league since 2000, so he’s seen plenty of change throughout the NHL with rules, culture surrounding teams, and practically anything that involves the NHL. He knows what’s worked in the past, and what himself and the team can do differently from other teams to give them an extra edge and push for the playoffs.