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Canes Looking Good with Six Games Left

Thursday, 03.26.2009 / 10:53 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Looking Good with Six Games Left
With the Hurricanes winning games at a clip selcom seen since the 2006 playoffs, the numbers speak for themselves.

Paul Branecky
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A franchise record-tying nine straight home wins. A chance to have the best March in team history, which a point against New Jersey on Saturday would accomplish. A record of 7-1-2 in the last 10 games, which is tied for the best in the NHL.

With so much on the line coming into this month, that’s about as good as you can ask for.

Beyond those points, it should also be said that there haven’t been many easy games during this run. They’ve beaten Cup contenders in Washington, Calgary and New Jersey. They’ve won grinding games against other teams in the playoff chase, such as the New York Rangers and Florida. Even games against the New York Islanders and Ottawa, who aren’t expected to make the playoffs, were tough contests as those teams were both playing very well coming in and gave the Canes all they could handle.

The bottom line is that the team is winning games and sitting in a better position than they ever could have imagined with six games remaining.

Buffalo and Florida have helped the Hurricanes’ cause, as both have struggled down the stretch and currently find themselves out of the playoff picture. Since the trade deadline on March 4, Buffalo is 4-6-1, while Florida is 2-4-3. If neither of them can climb back in, the Canes are in. Simple as that.

In a head-to-head meeting between those two last night, the Sabres may have gained some momentum with a four-goal comeback to win in regulation. They should also be getting goaltender Ryan Miller back from injury very soon.

For Florida, the third period collapse, their fourth in eight games, may be one too many to recover from. After deciding to hang on to Jay Bouwmeester at the trade deadline to make a run this season, the Panthers are now approaching a nightmare scenario where they don’t get in and lose their star player for nothing this summer via free agency.

Even though things are looking good, the Canes aren’t about to let up. Already in fifth place (although they have played more games than any NHL team), they are still looking to do more rather than focus on the teams who would love to catch them.

“We’re worried about moving up in the standings,” said Tim Gleason, who is working towards his first career NHL playoff game. “We have an opportunity to hopefully at some point catch Philadelphia and stay away from Pittsburgh even. It’s one of those things where you want to keep going, because it is a pretty tight race still. If you lose three in a row you’re going to be in trouble, so we want to keep winning hockey games and take it one game at a time.”

Following the last hectic portion of their 2008-09 schedule, the Canes are off from practice today. Get ready to do some scoreboard watching over the next week, as Saturday’s Jersey game is the team’s only contest in the next seven days. It’s about time the rest of the league catches up in games played, no?

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81