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

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Canes to host big game tonight

Tonight at the RBC Center, the Hurricanes will be playing a critical game against the Capitals. If they can win in regulation, they can virtually clinch the SE division. If Washington wins in regulation, things will get very interesting.

Right now, Carolina's lead over the Caps is five points with six games to play. If they can stretch it to seven points with a win tonight, it would take a miracle for Carolina to blow it. The two teams will square off one last time next Tuesday. By then, Carolina will have had two excellent chances (at home against Atlanta and at Tampa) to put it away regardless of what happens tonight.

Looking at the projected lineups, there are 13 forwards listed. This is because Patrick Eaves is doubtful with the flu. Counting Eaves, eight of the 13 forwards were not on the Hurricanes roster when the season began. Five of them (Ryan Bayda, Keith Aucoin, Wade Brookbank, Joe Jensen and Tim Conboy) are AHL players. This group of players from the River Rats, affectionately called "The Rat Pack", has played quite well.

Alexander Ovechkin has been held goalless in the last two games between the Canes and Caps. Last time in Raleigh, though, he had three assists.

Also in the SE, Florida will be taking on Tampa, in a game that has some implications. There are loads of other games with playoff implications, including the Sabres v Sens, the Bruins v Leafs, the Penguins v Devils and Flyers v Rangers.

Carolina will be in third place in the East no matter what happens tonight, but Washington could end up anywhere between eighth and eleventh.

Cam Ward and Cristobal Huet will be in nets tonight.

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