Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 04/10/09 at 10:12 PM ET
On Thursday night, the Sabres ended the Hurricanes incredibly hot streaks with a crushing 5-1 win. Carolna’s twelve game home winning streak and their nine game overall winning streak were snapped. Cam Ward also lost his first game in a long while and Michael Leighton appeared in a game for the first time since beating the Sharks on February 5.
While Buffalo was the team who traveled overnight (through customs, no less!) and was playing the back end of a back-to-back, they looked like the sharper team. All night.
The population of Pominville was increased by two as Jason Pominville scored two goals and first star status.
Ryan Miller was razor-sharp, stopping everything the Canes threw at him. He took a shutout all the way to the final 30 seconds of play, but Eric Staal spoiled his fun by potting his 40th of the season.
Buffalo’s heroic efforts were, unfortunately, for naught. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, which took the last bit of wind out of the Sabres’ sails. They are now mathematically eliminated from playoffs. All eight teams are locked in, but the positioning is still up for grabs.
Carolina, Pittsburgh and Philly are all tied with 97 points at positions four through six. The Canes and Penguins each have one game remaining (Saturday), while the Flyers still have a game in hand.
As a part-time fan of the Penguins, I’m dreading the possibility of a Canes-Pens matchup in the first round, even though it’s extremely unlikely. The most likely scenario is that Philly nabs the four spot and the Canes end up in fifth. There’s a chance that Carolina slips to sixth and plays the Devils, but I wouldn’t wager anything on that.
Carolina will wrap up the regular season with a 1:00 matinee at New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
I expect Cam Ward to be back in nets for Carolina.
In the very near future, look for a post about the eastern playoff pool if it were played by indie rock bands.
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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.