OK, so it’s not the world’s greatest accomplishment to hold down third place in the Metropolitan Division — congratulations, you’re tied with the Rangers in points, and you have a game in hand — but it’s a playoff position nonetheless.
With Friday’s 5-3 come-from-behind win over San Jose, the Carolina Hurricanes have won five of their last seven, and now they get to start a four-game road trip feeling good about themselves.
“That has got to be a big confidence builder for our guys tonight — to beat a team like that who we have a lot of respect for tonight,” said coach Kirk Muller after the Sharks game, which saw rookie Elias Lindholm score once while adding two assists.
Carolina’s road trip starts tonight with a tough one, in Vancouver against a streaking Canucks side that won its fourth straight last night. Games in Edmonton, Calgary and Phoenix will follow.
The ‘Canes haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, and they’ve only made them once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. Certainly if their division continues to struggle as a whole, it bodes well for their chances of getting back to the postseason in 2014.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.