Tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes have a chance to clinch their first Metropolitan Division title and claim consecutive Division banners for the first time in the history of the organization. They are in pursuit of team history. Tonight, this team can do something the Hurricanes organization has never done before and it is in the Canes’ house of horror in downtown New York.
Two points tonight for the Carolina Hurricanes tonight in any fashion will see them clinch the Metropolitan Division crown for the first time. However, Madison Square Garden is not a building that has been nice to the Canes in recent history, having won only two of their visits in the last eleven years. Should they correct that tonight in game 81, they will win their division.
Here’s what we know for tonight instead. Pyotr Kochetkov is the starter for the Canes. He will get his second NHL start in a game against the deadliest offense he will have faced in his young NHL career against this Rangers team. He will be going up against the likely Vezina winner in Igor Shesterkin. Kochetkov will be given the ultimate test in a goalie duel only three games into his NHL time, and the Canes need him.
We know Vincent Trocheck will be back in the lineup for the Canes for this one, and we know that the Hurricanes need their top six. In a game against one of the best goalies in the league, the team is going to need everything they have to get out in front and stay on top of the situation in order to defeat the Rangers and move forward as division champions.
Carolina very quietly has won five in a row. We all know that MSG is a nightmare destination for the team, so this may change tonight, but they have momentum going into this divisional clash. Two points will see them crowned Metropolitan Division champions.