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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The home stretch

With eight games to play, Carolina is atop the Southeast division with a three point lead over Washington and a five point lead over Florida. All eight remaining games are Southeast matchups. Two against each team in the division.

Every game will be critical, starting tonight in Atlanta. Puck drop at 7:00.

Jeff Hamilton has cleared re-entry waivers. With Matt Cullen out of the lineup indefinitely with post-concussion issues, Hambone will get some quality ice time. Or at least some quantity ice time.

When will the injuries to key players finally be too much?
The top line of Ray Whitney/ Rod Brind'Amour/ Justin Williams is out. Matt Cullen is out.

The newcomers and the "Rat Pack" have played extremely well, but it's gonna be hard to make a deep playoff run with AHL-quality players in the lineup. I hope they prove me wrong.

On the other hand, Justin Williams should be able to return if the Hurricanes can hold on to that SE lead and make the playoffs.

It's going to be a very tight race. Every game is a "must win". For the Panthers, they literally must win every game (and get some outside help). The Thrahsers and Lightning are out of contention, but they could easily play the part of spoiler.

The Caps, who won last night in Nashville, will be on the road tonight at Chicago. Canes fans will have a keen interest in that game, just as the Caps fan will have an interest in the Canes game.

Full game posts late tonight.

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