Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 02/14/09 at 06:01 PM ET
Starting tonight, Carolina will have a tough three-game stretch that may go a long way towards determining their postseason fate. With just 27 games remaining, they’re all important, but I get the feeling that unless Carolina secures three or more points in the next three games, it’s going to be another spring of tee times and family vacations.
Tonight, Carolina will wear their third sweaters against the Blue Jackets. Columbus is in almost the same situation that Carolina is in. The teams have identical records and both sit in ninth place with 59 points. However, Carolina has a tougher climb to get inside the bubble. The Jackets are three points out of climbing all the way to fifth place, Carolina is six points out of a playoff spot at all.
Columbus won last night at home against Detroit. While they are playing the back end of a back-to-back, Carolina is on the front end. They’ll head to Buffalo tomorrow for a big matchup that Carolina will need to win.
The Sabres are five points ahead of Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. They just won a very emotional game at home against San Jose the day after a plane crash killed 50 people in former Hurricane Kevyn Adams’ home town of Clarence. Carolina has just lost a “four point game” against Florida and can’t afford to lose another. This will be a game that Carolina is going to have to win in regulation. Hopefully coupled with a win today against Columbus.
On Tuesday, the Hurricanes will honor Glen Wesley by sending his number 2 to the rafters before a big game against the East-leading Bruins. In that game, the Hurricanes will be happy enough to get even an overtime loss. Any standings point is a good one.
These three games against tough opponents will be followed by a slightly softer schedule to end February, but as the cliche goes, there are no “easy games” in the NHL.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.