The final regular season home game will be played tonight at PNC Arena as the Carolina Hurricanes host the Detroit Red Wings with the Metro Division on the line. Tonight could be an extra special night if things play out right.
Despite an extremely successful season by the Canes, the concern is really about where this team will go when the playoffs begin. After all, last season ended with a Metro Division title but the season only lasted another few weeks.
The way the team has played of late has brought great anxiety to the faithful Caniacs. Winning only 3 of their last 9 games is not the ideal way to enter the playoffs and it has put extra pressure down the stretch.
Having said that, the Canes can put a bow on the Metro Division tonight with a win and some help from the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres face off against the New Jersey Devils tonight after defeating the New York Rangers last night.
Buffalo still has an outside chance at the Wild Card if they can win their final 3 games so it is safe to say their will be no quit from them against New Jersey.
The fact that tonight could be a big celebration should put things in perspective for the worried fans.
Most important for this Canes team is getting back to their winning ways. It has been a grind of late for most of the roster and pointing fingers is not going to help anything. Winning makes everything better!
Failure is a fuel for excuses and boy have the excuses been the focus around this team since Andrei Svechnikov went down with a season ending injury.
Whether it is poor calls on the ice or unlucky bounces, the players are responsible for the entire season and game.
Fatigue is something that will not be used by Rod Brind’Amour but the players and fans have certainly hit a wall in this marathon of a season. Losing site of what is in front of this team has been easy with the noise around the league from rivals.
Tonight is a chance to right the ship and improve the attitude in the locker room heading into the playoffs. There is no doubt that the playoffs alone will change the mind set of the players but getting confidence from tonight will go a long way into the week and beyond.
Whether New Jersey wins or loses tonight, the focus should be on the ice and what the Canes are doing to win hockey games.
As the great Vince Vaughn said in Wedding Crashers, “Rule number 76. No excuses. Play like a champion”