Carolina In The Perfect Spot For The Playoffs Despite Metro Standings.

If the season ended today, the Carolina Hurricanes would be squaring off against a third place Philadelphia Flyers team in the first round of the playoffs. The Metro Division Champions New York Rangers would host the Tampa Bay Lightning. In a classic "lose the battle, win the war" scenario, it might not hurt Carolina to do what they can to simply maintain.
Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs
Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Everyone wants the Carolina Hurricanes to win the Metropolitan Division and secure home ice through the playoffs. That has its advantages. Travel, this late in the season has its effects on a team, even with the playoff adrenaline rush. But if the season came to and end today, the Hurricanes would in fact not win the Metro and snap their streak of division titles.

But that is not necessary a bad thing.

Looking into the crystal ball, shoving past the haze of macho, "we have to win it all" garbage, you might see that a second place finish is not as bad as it might seem. In fact, it could actually be to Carolina's advantage.

The Philadelphia Flyers would be Carolina's first round opponent if the playoffs kicked off next week. Carolina owns the season series against the Flyers 2-1 and have scored a combined 7 goals in those three games with one more game left to play. Pyotr Kochetkov has a win and a loss while Freddie Andersen has a win. Provided Carolina keeps at the clip they've been playing, Philadelphia would be the perfect warm up for the second round. Not too soft, but certainly not too hard.

Looking forward things look even better for this matchup. On ramping to the playoff superhighway, the Hurricanes face four teams in serious contention while the Flyers will have five including Carolina in Raleigh and Boston in Boston. Of the two, Carolina has the easier of the short rows to hoe making it much easier for the Canes to come into the series fresher and more ready to play.

But what of the top team in the Metro? The New York Rangers, known heretofore as the Cary Rangers? And what about winning the Metro with it's home ice advantage?

The Cary Rangers would face Tampa Bay in a first round that shows as surging Tampa team up against a grinding team at the end of a long season. While the Rags hold the series against the Bolts, Tampa's 6-3 over the New York on March 14th holds promise for the Bolts. Prior to that game, the Tampa had just two goals against the Rangers, but their ability to hang a touchdown this late in the season says they have figured out New York. Either way that series has the possibility to go all the way to the last minutes of game seven, meaning the victor would move into the 2nd round with much more wear and tear.

Having the New York and Tampa Bay clash in lengthy first round could just be to Carolina's advantage assuming they can handle the Flyers quickly. If it is Tampa that emerges, Carolina faces a team not only beat up from a pier four brawl with the Cary Rangers, but also one the Canes can beat. Should it be the Rags, the Canes square off with rest.

During the American Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant came east from the western theater with a keen understanding that the did not have to win ever battle against the Army of Northern Virginia. He simply had to not lose too badly. The Confederate Army was unable to replace the troops it lost at the rate Grant was, putting him in the position to lose small battles but still win the war.

A second place finish for the Carolina Hurricanes is in many cases the same situation. Carolina need only to continue to lose a small battle like the Metro Division title, but win the ultimate war that is the Stanley Cup.

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