Carolina Hurricanes' Dominant Shot Production a Reason for Optimism

Mark JonesSenior Analyst IFebruary 6, 2014

Feb 4, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec (31) stops the Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner (53) in close on a shot during the 1st period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As the Olympic Break approaches, the Carolina Hurricanes face a pivotal moment in their 2013-14 NHL playoff hopes.

Friday and Saturday back-to-back matches at PNC Arena will decide the team's position on the postseason bubble entering the two-week vacation.

With an offense sporting just three goals (excluding an empty-netter) in the last three games, the 'Canes will certainly need to find the back of the net more often to take down the Panthers and Canadiens and earn four valuable points prior to the Sochi Olympic Games.

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 31: Tuomo Ruutu #15 of the Carolina Hurricanes and teammates salute fans following their victory over the St. Louis Blues during their NHL game at PNC Arena on January 31, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NH
Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images

Yet the Hurricanes have still won 10 of their last 15 games. The team has, without question, played winning hockey in the last five weeks. A little more finishing ability on the offensive side of the puck could well boost them above the bubble come March and April.

If their pure win-loss record isn't impressive enough, however, Carolina's absolutely unstoppable dominance of offensive pressure on a game-to-game basis certainly is.

The 'Canes have controlled the shots on goal, scoring chances and highly indicative shot attempts (Corsi) statistical categories with regularity ever since early December.

Over their past 27 games—starting with the 5-2 win in Nashville on Dec. 5—the 'Canes have registered more shot attempts than their opposition 21 times. They've averaged 66.04 attempts per game and held the other team to an average of just 54.19 attempts per game.

A visual interpretation of the Hurricanes' shot attempt differential can be seen below:

Per Extra Skater.

With such command over the distribution of offensive chances, the 'Canes are able to wear down opposing defensemen and goaltenders—as evidenced by their frequent third-period comebacks of late.

Moreover, Carolina has risen to 13th in the NHL in average shot attempts differential and eighth in attempts for; their 66.04 average over the last 27 games trails San Jose's league-leading, season-long 66.16 average by only a sliver.

With two enormously important games up next on the schedule, the 'Canes have little reason to lose confidence in their offense after a mere three-game downturn.


Mark Jones has been a Carolina Hurricanes featured columnist for Bleacher Report since 2009. Visit his profile to read more, or follow him on Twitter.