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Preview Blues at Hurricanes: Sweet Caroline(a)

Blues vs Hurricanes tonight at 6:30CT on FSMW

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Blues take on the Carolina Hurricanes. Puck drops at 6:30 CT and can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest.

The Hurricanes routed the favored Toronto Maple Leafs last night in a 6-3 win. After giving up a two goal lead the Hurricanes were able to battle back and finished the night with 6 goals off of 38 shots.

Josh Jooris lead the offensive charge with two goals while Teuvo Teravainen finished the night with a goal and two assists. Scott Darling stoped 29 of 32 shot for a .906 save percentage.

During the off-season the Hurricanes made some moves in an attempt to drag themselves out of the cellar and once again be a competitive team in the Metropolitan division.

Scott Darling was brought out from under Corey Crawford’s shadow in an attempt to shore up the Hurricanes goaltending woes. Fourth line center Marcus Kruger and third pairing defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk followed Darling from Chicago as well.

Justin Williams was the big offseason signing. After a 48 point campaign with the Washington Capitals last season Williams signed a 2 year 4.5 million dollar deal.

All of these moves helped add depth and skill to a roster that badly needed it. However, things haven’t went exactly as planned.

After last nights win the Hurricanes are 4-3-1 and sit fifth in the Metropolitan division. They are 3-2-0 in their last five games with wins over the Oilers, Flames and Maple Leafs and loses to the Stars and Lightning.

The Hurricanes are a very solid possession team. They have the second best Corsi For% at 55.82% and the sixth best Fenwick For% at 53.85 in the entire NHL.

In fact they have had a positive Corsi percentage in everyone of their nine games including a 1-5 loss to the red hot Tampa Bay lightening in which the Hurricanes had both a Corsi and Fenwick over 60%.

Jeff Skinner leads the team with 5 goals so far this season while Justin Williams and Jordan Staal brother of Eric both have 5 points apiece.

So if your wonder how the Hurricanes can be putting up the possession numbers like they are and getting offense from the top players like they are how can they barley be over .500? The problem so far appears to be in goal.

Scott Darling is a career .921 goaltender but when he made the move from the cozy confines of Chicago and claimed the starting spot in Carolina there were some questions as to how he would preform as a true number one. So far those questions still remain.

Darling’s .899 save percentage is just good enough to make him the 44th best goalie in the NHL [NHL.com].

However, due to Darling playing last night against Toronto one would think that backup Cam Ward would get the start tonight. Ward has only started one game this season against the Edmonton Oilers. He stopped 48 of 51 shots for a .941 save percentage.

As for the boys in blue, after a sluggish start to Wednesday night’s game against the Flames the Blues were finally able to get the bus in gear and cruise to a 5-2 win. With goals from Alex Pietrangelo, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Paul Stastny, as well as an empty netter from Cousin Eddie the Blues showed some offensive flashes that we have not seen in a while.

More importantly the Blues special teams were able to step up and contribute after a somewhat puzzling dry spell. They now have the 13th best power play at 18.4% while the penalty kill is still the third worst in the NHL at 75%. [NHL.com]

And while this season is still young, when glancing at the Blues metrics there are a few red flags that pop up.

For starters their 48.22 Corsi For% still puts them in the bottom half of the league. They have the fourth highest PDO (sum of shooting percentage and save percentage) at 1.034 and will eventually regress back to the norm meaning that either the team’s 94.2 save percentage or 9.13 shot percentage or both will decline.

However, there is a bit of a silver lining. While the team’s Corsi is below the league average their Fenwick For% is just barley out of the top ten at 50.24%. Meaning that although the Blues are giving up more than half of all shots during a game they are actually getting the better of the scoring chances. Is this a recipe for success? Probably not but it is somewhat reassuring.

Look for new Dad Carl Gunnarsson to draw back into the lineup after missing Wednesday night’s game. Which means that recent call up Nate Prosser will probably be the odd man out.

One would assume that Dmitrij “It’s not my job” Jaskin will probably get another turn on the fourth line leaving resident punching bag Chris Thorburn to slay the dragons in the sky box.

Mike Yeo said on Thursday that both goalies will take a turn playing in the two up coming games but didn’t allude to which one would play when. I would assume that after a decent outing on Wednesday Jake Allen will get the nod tonight and Carter Hutton will get the home game on Saturday but that is a Jaskin sized guess.

Thanks for reading and Go Blues.

Statistics are 5 on 5 and are courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com unless otherwise noted.