Carolina Hurricanes: Last chance to make Metro push comes on Jan. 23

Last place in the Metropolitan Division right now with 50 points, the Carolina Hurricanes need a Jan. 23 road victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pushing the Carolina Hurricanes further up the standings in the Metropolitan Division requires a Jan. 23 road victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins, at PPG Paints Arena. However, the Canes are not looking good after the 5-1 home loss, at PNC Arena, against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights.

However, a poor start from goalie Scott Darling, allowing three goals on eight shots, contributed to the four-goal loss to Vegas. Cam Ward does get the start for the Canes in net, after Darling was pulled early in the previous contest. Meanwhile, Casey DeSmith gets the starts for the Pens, and he’s hot of late.

Pittsburgh, and the Washington Capitals, are both starting to heat up, which is scary for the rest of the Metro. Those are the two most talented teams in the division, and the Pens are looking for their third straight Stanley Cup. The Columbus Blue Jackets will also be a tough out in the Metro if the reigning Vezina Trophy Winner, Sergei Bobrovsky, heats up down the stretch.

That leaves the Canes, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers in a tough spot. The Metro might be even tighter this year than it was in 2016-17. Carolina needs a big push in the final months of the season, and that won’t be easy.

After this Jan. 23 matchup with the Pens, the Canes have their All-Star Break. Noah Hanifin is the only Cane representing the team in the All-Star Game. However, this is a huge game for the Canes, and Ward needs to come up big. If not, Carolina could fall too far back in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.