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Surprisingly, Home Ice a Possibility

Friday, 04.3.2009 / 12:59 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Surprisingly, Home Ice a Possibility
Forget just making the playoffs. These Canes have been playing like home ice advantage in the first round, which they would have if the season ended today, was their goal all along.

Paul Branecky
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With the way they’re going, it’s hard to argue that they don’t deserve it. I don’t think I need to remind anyone how good the 2005-06 Stanley Cup team was at home (OK, fine, they were 31-8-2), but even they never won 10 in a row in the friendly confines of the RBC Center.

Now, whether the Canes will retain hold of the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference isn’t a sure thing by any means, as Philadelphia is only one point back with two games in hand, and Pittsburgh is in that mix as well. Although that’s still an uphill battle, given how far away it looked just a short month ago, even being in that neighborhood has to be considered an unbelievable accomplishment.

“I didn’t really expect we’d be talking about it at this time of year,” said Tuomo Ruutu. “It’s so tight right now and teams are playing each other and having bad times and good times. Right now we’re having a good time, and you never know what could happen.”

There’s still a more important task at hand, and that’s the not-so-small matter of actually wrapping up a playoff spot of any kind. That accomplishment is getting closer and closer by the day.

A win tomorrow night against the Penguins, coupled with regulation losses by either Florida (tonight vs. Atlanta) or the Rangers (tomorrow afternoon vs. Boston) would mathematically seal the deal. In that scenario, the Canes would have 95 points and a total wins tiebreaker over the Panthers, Rangers and/or Sabres, making it impossible for any of those teams to catch up.

Matt Cullen remained off the ice today – at this point, no rush whatsoever. After leaving last night’s game with an upper-body injury during the second period, Patrick Eaves was back for the full session.

After his 25th consecutive start, Cam Ward got the day off today. Television Color Analyst Tripp Tracy again filled in opposite Michael Leighton, with Eric Staal in particular not making things very easy on the volunteer netminder.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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