A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ottawa clinches division with overtime loss

Ottawa lost 5-4 in overtime to the Panthers on Thursday night. They earned one standings point, which allowed them to clinch the Northeast division. Their 111 points will be good enough to withstand any rally mounted by second place Buffalo. Now, for Buffalo the waiting game is over. They will have the four seed in the East.

Even though Ottawa got a point, the loss was big news for Carolina. It means that the Canes still have a very good chance of emerging with the #1 seed in the East. The only way Ottawa can get the #1 seed is if they win their remaining two games AND get some help from Carolina. If Carolina wins their remaining three games, however, they will not need any help from Ottawa.

Both of the Sens remaining games are on the road. On Saturday, they will visit the Leafs, who are still clinging to wafer thin playoff hopes. Then, on Tuesday, they will play in Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.

Meanwhile, Carolina will have two of its remaining three games in the robe-friendly RBC Center. On Friday, they will host the Bolts. Then the two teams will go down to Tampa for a rematch. Carolina closes the season at home against Buffalo. Should Carolina win all three games, they will clinch home ice throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. A loss by Ottawa would sure help, but Carolina is in the position to control their own destiny.

In other news, Atlanta and Toronto won on Thursday night, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Montréal also won, however, which makes things difficult. In the West, Los Angeles has been officially eliminated. They were shut out again, meaning that in their last eight games, they have only netted seven goals total. Vancouver has also been eliminated.

Puck drop for Canes-Bolts will be 7:00. Atlanta will be watching the game closely.

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