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

Friday, March 28, 2008

Southeast getting tight

The Washington Capitals didn't do the Hurricanes any favors last night. They won their game against the Lightning on Thursday night, and have closed the gap in the Southeast division. Now, Carolina has a two point lead with five games to play.

A little while ago, Canes fans looked at tonight's game with the Thrashers as a chance to widen the gap and perhaps clinch the division. Suddenly, it has become a "must win". Florida, by virtue of their loss on Thursday, is effectively out of the picture. Washington, however, could easily overtake Carolina unless the Hurricanes take care of their own business.

Right now, the cut for the Eastern Conference is 88 points. 88 is exactly what Carolina has. Although they would have all the tiebreakers in their favor if the season ended today, nothing is guaranteed. There are five games left for Carolina, and they will need to win three of them. Given their play recently, this isn't too much to ask, but the pressure is really on. If they are able to beat Washington at the Verizon Center on April 1, they will need only one other win. Either way, the only acceptable outcome tonight will be a win.

Chad LaRose will be returning to the lineup tonight after just one day of full contact practice. Justin Williams is back at practice, but won't be in the lineup until the playoffs.

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