Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/21/09 at 12:15 AM ET
On Friday night, the Hurricanes took care of their own business and also got some outside help to get them that much closer to qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs. They needed a come-from-behind 5-4 win against the lowly Islanders, but they got it done. The outside help came in the form of a regulation loss by the Sabres, who still have two games in hand on the Canes but are now seven points back. The idle Florida Panthers have two games in hand and are three points behind Carolina, who has temporarily climbed into sixth place. More importantly, though, the Kitties trail Carolina by three in the wins column
Carolina has now won seven home games in a row and will conclude a three-game homestand on Saturday night against the dreaded Capitals.
Carolina got two goals apiece from Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose. They also got a very important goal by Tuomo Ruutu in the waning moments of the second period. At the time, Carolina had given up four straight goals and had fallen behind 4-2. Ruutu scored a controversial goal, tapping in a loose puck in front of the net after Isles netminder Peter Mannino was run into by Erik Cole. The goal was allowed, and it gave Carolina some momentum heading into the room for the second intermission.
Chad LaRose, who has been one of Carolina’s best players and certainly a fan favorite tallied his 15th and 16th markers of the season, which is by far his best season at the NHL level. The undrafted Michigander scored 20 with the AHL Lowell Lock Monsters during the lockout. Last season, he scored 11 goals in 58 games with the Hurricanes. He’s scheduled to become a UFA this summer, and there’s a lot of talk about what could happen with him. My thinking is that he’ll be re-signed to a two-year deal at just under $1M per season. I hope so, anyway.
Cullen’s two markers put him at 22 for the season and Ruutu’s lone marker puts him at that same level. Ray Whitney contributed three assists, giving him 43 of those for the season. Defenseman Joe Corvo also added three helpers, giving him 20 for the season.
Carolina has nine games remaining and is sitting on 83 standings points. Now it’s looking like 93 should do the trick, so they’ll need to get ten of the 18 available points. It’s still not going to be easy, but today they helped themselves and got outside help too.
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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.