The Carolina Hurricanes host the Florida Panthers again tonight as they wrap up a short two-game miniseries against the #1 team in the Discover Central Division. The Canes were the victors in the last matchup between these two powerhouse teams, by a margin of 5-2.
Florida has, seemingly overnight, evolved into a phenomenal hockey team that has what it takes to go the distance. They’ve proven that they can hang with any team in the league, and have done so against two of the top 5 teams in the NHL in the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes.
If the Canes can pull out a win tonight, they’ll reclaim the first place position in not just the Discover Central Division, but the NHL on the whole, with a game in hand against divisional top-of-the-standings rivals Tampa Bay, and two games in hand against the Florida Panthers.
Tonight’s game is one of those moments where, if the Canes capitalize on it, they’ll once again be putting themselves in a tremendous position going forward; obviously finishing the regular season in 1st place in the division would be ideal, seeing as how that would rule out a possible 1st round matchup against the Bolts or the Cats, and instead would be against whichever team snags the 4th place spot between Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, or Columbus.
Before we get too bogged down in those weeds, though, we should probably focus on the game in front of us first, eh?