The Carolina Hurricanes leave the state of Florida the same way they arrived – In first place. The Hurricanes headed to Florida with four important games on the slate with the two teams they are battling with the division title.
Up first, were the defending champion Tampa Bay Lighting. Carolina fell in the first game of the two game series 3-2 in overtime but were able to collect a very important point sending the game to the extra stanza. The Hurricanes followed with an impressive 4-1 victory Tuesday night dominating Tampa Bay from the opening puck drop. Even with dropping the first game, escaping Tampa Bay with three out of the four possible points was a huge deal.
Carolina continued their Florida swing with back-to-back matchup’s with the Panthers, who are clawing at the Hurricanes tail in the standings. Sebastian Aho tallied two goals in the opening game Thursday night pushing Carolina to the 4-2 victory. Jordan Martinook and Nino Niederreiter added the other tallies while Alex Nedelijkovic maned the pipes for the second of his third straight starts stopping 32 shots faced. Friday’s outcome would be the definition of disappointing as the Hurricanes saw a 3-1 lead slip away falling to Florida 4-3 in OT. Still able to collect a point from the loss positioned Carolina atop of the standings in the Central division.
With just 10 games remaining in the regular season, Carolina will be able to secure a playoff spot for the third consecutive season with a few different scenarios.
- Carolina can clinch a playoff spot with at least one point collected in tonight’s game vs Dallas OR if Florida defeats Nashville.
So simply put….win tonight and they are in. The Hurricanes will be using a shorter bench as usual, as Jordan Martinook joined the injured list and is listed as day-to-day. Puck drops tonight in Dallas at 7:30 and is a national broadcast on NBCSN.