The Carolina Hurricanes have a problem to solve, and it’s one that they are all too familiar with. After winning 7 of 8 games between December 12 and December 29, the tables have turned. Since their game on December 29, the Hurricanes have dropped 7 of the last 10 games and don’t look to be turning it around any time soon after the recent 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at home. Keep in mind, this is the same Golden Knights team the Hurricanes beat in Las Vegas in December; one of only two home losses the Knights have surrendered in regulation this season.
Hurricanes’ backup goalie, Scott Darling, who was the starter coming into the season also started Sunday’s game against the Golden Knights; a questionable call after Cam Ward’s impeccable performance the night before in the Hurricanes’ 3-1 win against the Red Wings. Darling, whose confidence has clearly been an issue as of late, let up the game’s first goal 2:55 into the first period to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. The tone of the game was set immediately. With 12:20 gone in the first period, Vegas added their second goal when Colin Miller snuck one past Darling. Less than a minute later, Jonathan Marchessault tallied the third goal for the Vegas Golden Knights and that was the end of it for Darling. Carolina Hurricanes head coach, Bill Peters, replaced Scott Darling with Cam Ward.
What This Means for Scott Darling
Scott Darling was supposed to be the answer for the Hurricanes this season and he has been everything but that. Through 29 games played, Scott Darling is a lousy 9-13-6 (3.02 GAA, .892 Sv%) while Ward is 12-5-2 (2.75 GAA, .907 Sv%) through 21 games played. While the numbers on paper may not look very different, the Hurricanes offensive ability with Darling in net is crutched due to his lack of ability to play the puck opposed to Ward. If Darling doesn’t improve his efficiency, the Hurricanes will be forced to make some kind of move. At this point, Alex Nedeljkovic from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL has to be considered for a call up. In one career NHL game during the 2016-17 season, Nedeljkovic turned away 17 shots in 30 minutes of play against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Bill Peters entered the 2017-18 season on the hot seat and that fire is spreading quicker than ever right about now. With the Hurricanes not making the playoffs in 8 seasons, it is time for another change. Peters is in his 4th season with the Hurricanes and it looks like it is going to be another closely missed shot at the playoffs if things do not turn around quickly. In his tenure with the Hurricanes, Peters is 122-121-50, averaging right around one point per game which is not good enough to make the playoffs even as a wild card. If things do not improve soon, Peters could be out of Carolina before the 8 game home stand ending in February comes to a close.
With the Hurricanes under the new majority ownership of Tom Dundon, look for major changes that would not have been made previously. The two most notably talked about for this are Scott Darling and Bill Peters.