Carolina 6, Atlanta 1
Carolina Hurricanes win over the Atlanta Thrashers secured a tie with the New York Rangers for the final playoff seat. The Rangers play this afternoon against the New Jersey Devils while the Canes play their last regulation home game at 7:00pm with Tampa Bay.
Erik Cole must hate Atlanta something fierce. #26 (who now boasts 26 goals and 26 assists) has secured the game winning goal in four-out-of-five wins this season against the Thrashers. Hurricanes crushed Atlanta Friday night 6-1. It was a model performance from the Canes.
Canes’ D-men kept shots on goal to 19 and forced key possessions. Bryan Little stole Cam Ward’s chance at back-to-back shutouts with 38 seconds remaining in the contest. Ward made 19 stops in Atlanta.
It may be easier to report on which Carolina players did not get a goal or helper in the Southeast Division beating. While the Thrashers racked up enough box time to write a novel, Canes pounded Ondrej Pavelec at the goal line.
Jeff Skinner (31) and Erik Cole (26) scored just three minutes apart in the first. Joni Pitkanen’s shot from Jamie McBain at the start of the second was a sweet extra-man goal. Although nice to see the Canes score on a power play opportunity, it would only be one of two during the night despite the six other chances. Tuomo Ruutu (19) earned the other power play goal in the third with the help of Jokinen (33) and Skinner (31). A flip-flop from less than a minute prior when Jussi Jokinen managed his 19th goal with the assist of Ruutu and Skinner, which further illustrates the power of the ‘FinSkin’ line. The trio has generated 16 points in the past five games.
Added bonus, it was another beautiful night of stars: 3. Ruutu 2. Ward 1. Skinner
Winning the last five of six games has kept the Hurricanes in the playoff hunt, and most importantly managed to tie the Rangers for the 8th seed. The 12:30pm Rangers/Devils game will determine the importance of the Canes’ outcome this evening. Should the Rangers fall to Jersey, Carolina seals its place in the playoffs. If New York wins, Canes must also produce a victory today to travel beyond the regular season.
LET’S GO CANES!
Topics: Atlanta Thrashers, Brandon Sutter, Bryan Little, Cam Ward, Canes, Carolina Hurricanes, Chad LaRose, Erik Cole, Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner, Joni Pitkanen, Jussi Jokinen, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Tuomo Ruutu