Carolina plays their final home game of the regular season tonight. I wasn't scheduled to go to the game, but a friend is out of town and offered me his tickets. This means that for the sixth season in a row, I'll be there on the final game.
Most seasons, the finale has been bittersweet. In '02 and '06, they had the SE crown wrapped up. Every other season, they weren't even in the playoffs. The point is that the final game has not had any "real" meaning in the time that I've been going to them. In '06, they could have secured the #1 seed in the East if they had won the final game. They lost, ended up with the #2 seed, and maybe it gave the Canes the path they needed.
Tonight, they need a win to secure the division. They can still win the division if they lose and get some help, but that's not what they want.
Yesterday, I wrote that there were two backup plans in case the Canes can't get a win tonight. There's actually a third plan, but it didn't occur to me until this morning.
If the Canes stumble, but end up with an overtime/shootout loss, they will be two points ahead of ninth place Philly. If the hypothetical overtime loss is coupled with a regulation loss by Philly, Carolina will secure the eighth spot. As long as Philly loses at least one of their remaining games, Carolina secures with an overtime loss tonight.
Justin Williams will not be returning to the lineup despite reports that he's feeling much better.
The Canes will be rolling with seven defensemen.
The Hurricanes are 5-2-0 against the Kitties this season.
In my preparation for the game, I'm going to give myself a nice clean shave. I've been wearing a little bit of scruff for about a year solid, but it's time to clean the slate in preparation for the playoff beard.
If any of the four scenarios unfolds to put the Hurricanes in the playoffs, I'll regularly update the status of the beard.
I didn't sleep last night.
4 years ago