Tracking the Storm

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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72