Carolina 39-30-11, Atlanta 34-34-12
No, it isn’t the giddiness of the Ho, Ho, Ho holiday season. It is the exciting Win, Win, Win of the regulation season. Although the past few games have wreaked havoc on the nervous system, it is an adrenaline rush hockey fans adore. Caniacs in particular have endured a wild ride. Victories over the Capitals and Red Wings have lifted our spirits and provided us much needed hope. The players are reaping those rewards as they are skating with a confidence that was lacking earlier last month.
Carolina playoff chances rest completely in the next 36 hours. Hurricanes are currently two points behind the eighth seed Rangers. The team would prefer the safest route to post-season by winning tonight’s contest with Atlanta and tomorrow’s home game versus Tampa Bay.
The Rangers play their final game Saturday afternoon against the New Jersey Devils. Should they lose that battle, Canes just need to win one of their two remaining games as they have fewer non-shootout victories. However, let’s cheer for Rangers to perish and Canes to win their pair. We’ve had enough close calls lately.
I woke up this morning not knowing whether to love the Thrashers or be fearful of them. They unexpectedly shutout the New York playoff contenders last night. Thankful they slowed our competition, but I don’t care to see them repeat that performance tonight. Canes arrived in Atlanta yesterday, so they should be well rested versus the traveling Thrashers.
The Hurricanes have faced Atlanta five times previously this season. The only regulation win for the Canes came in Atlanta early February. They also claimed victories at home in two overtime games and one at Atlanta with a shootout win.
Eric Cole had the game-winning goal in all four triumphs. Cole also had the final game clinching goal for Carolina Wednesday against the Red Wings. The winger has three points in the last four games and has been playing his best as the playoff hunt heated up.
Although the North Carolina franchise won the majority of the matches with Atlanta this year, they were all very close games. No doubt tonight will be another nail-biting, Tums popping event.
LET’S GO CANES!