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

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Canes edge Kings

On a cold wet Tuesday night, the Hurricanes emerged from their barn with a 2-1 victory over the visiting last place Kings. This gives the Canes an opportunity to gain ground on Atlanta, who is playing a late game in Calgary, getting crushed early. Carolina will also be keeping a close eye on Toronto, who is also battling for the eighth spot in the East. The Leafs are, as I write, tied with the Islanders midway through the third lost to the Islanders in the shootout.

One important thing happened, and I can almost guarantee that nobody else will mention this. It'll take me a little ways to get there, so bear with me. According to the Mirtle Model, 95 points will be needed for a team to qualify for the playoffs. Los Angeles is now in a position where the most they can accrue is 93 points. They're out. James Mirtle isn't god, I know, but his model seemed to work last season. He predicted 95 would get you in, and that's exactly what Edmonton had with the eighth seed in the West.

Bear with me. I'm getting to the point.

The Kings are out. They won't be winning the Stanley Cup. Center Patrick O'Sullivan won't be getting his name etched on the Stanley Cup come September. Who? Patrick O'Sullivan. He's the only native North Carolinian playing in the NHL right now. Or ever, for that matter. He was born in Winston-Salem while his dad was playing for the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds of the defunct Atlantic Coast Hockey League.

Why is this important?

Chris Huffine, video coach for the Hurricanes, became the first native North Carolinian to have his name etched on the Cup last year. The fact that the Kings are realistically eliminated and O'Sullivan isn't high on anyone's trade priority means that Huffine won't have to share that distinction with anyone. At least for one more year.

Okay... the game. I didn't go, it wasn't on Canes TV, I don't have Center Ice, and I had no desire to be in a bat. I had to listen on the webradio.

Ray Whitney got the Canes off and running late in the first to continue his sizzling pace. His power play goal was assisted by Rod Brind'Amour and David Tanabe.

Alex Frolov tied it for the Kings midway through the second with a power play goal.

Scott Walker got the game winner midway through the third, assisted by Josef Vasicek and David Tanabe.

Tanabe didn't earn an "official" star, but the RBH stars go to:

THIRD STAR David Tanabe, CAR -- 2 assists
SECOND STAR Ray Whitney, CAR -- goal
FIRST STAR Scott Walker, CAR -- GWG

Ray Whitney continues to be absolutely incendiary. He's got a three game goal streak and a five game point streak during which he has totaled 10 (5/5) points. He's got 68 points, and with 23 games remaining, he's just 8 shy of his career best. Somehow, a guy who's in the top 10 in the League, and is on pace for 94 points is completely under the radar. Go figure.

The Canes will stay at home and will face the Rangers and their legion of ex-Canes on Thursday. I'll be donning 63 for the first time since game 7.

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