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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Almost There, But Not Quite

Tuesday, 03.24.2009 / 1:29 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Almost There, But Not Quite
Last night’s overtime win against Florida has the Canes as close to the playoffs as they’ve been all season, but there’s still work to be done yet.
Paul Branecky
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Carolina is currently six points clear of the ninth-placed Panthers with only seven games remaining on its schedule. While their chances of getting into the postseason skyrocketed over the past week due to their own play and the misfortunes of others, just ask last year’s team about how a seemingly sure thing can disappear just as quickly.

Even for those who weren’t with the team at the conclusion of 2007-08, it’s not time to celebrate quite yet.

“Eighty-seven points doesn’t get you into the playoffs,” said Coach Paul Maurice of his team’s current point total. “We’re in a good position, but a lot of other teams have games in hand on us now, which is a concern. At the same time, I think we’ve almost gotten through one of the roughest parts of our schedule in terms of the number of games. We need the same things to happen – we need to stay healthy and keep playing well.”

As of Tuesday morning, the Hurricanes had played more games than any team in the NHL with 75. That’s not to say that the team’s position in fifth place is entirely misleading, as Carolina would still hold the seventh seed even if every team chasing them won all of their games in hand – an unlikely yet possible scenario that the Canes have no choice but to recognize.

There is one factor the Hurricanes have displayed throughout March that, if they can maintain it, will help them take the final steps necessary to secure their first postseason berth in two years: confidence.

The team has faced some adversity in recent games, namely a two-goal deficit against the Islanders on Friday, an allowed goal to Washington in the final minute of the second period on Saturday that could have been a turning point and the five-on-three power play Florida used to tie last night’s game late in the third.

The common thread in each of those is that the Hurricanes were able to dodge those curveballs and prevail. That self-belief should serve them well as they try to hold off the likes of the New York Rangers, Montreal and Florida down the stretch.

“This team now, because of the fight we’ve been in for what seems like two months with enough ups and downs and surviving, we’ve got confidence in those times of the game,” said Maurice of overcoming those obstacles. “If you have a little bit of success coming back in games, you remember that.”

Their next test will be a strong one, as Ottawa comes to Raleigh tomorrow. Although the odds are heavily against the Senators getting into the postseason, they are doing all they can to change that by going 9-2-0 in their last 11 games.  They trail Buffalo, who is fading quickly from the playoff race, by only two points.

“I think they are the hottest team in the league,” said Maurice. “They’ve covered a huge amount of distance in a short period of time, so now they think that they can [make the playoffs]. I don’t believe that anybody ever looked at that team and said they weren’t talented enough to be in the playoffs. Their best players are playing very, very well, and that gives them a chance to win.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61