I didn't see any of Sunday's Thrash game. Ignorance is bliss and in my case has generated some naive optimism in my melon going into this critical week in the NHL.
The Canes have 14 games remaining on the schedule. That's 28 possible points in play. Out of those 14 games, 8 will be against SE teams - 16 possible points. As of today, I will give six other teams a shot at the 8th playoff spot. Of those 6, only Montreal has played as many games as the Hurricanes.
The Rangers, Islanders and Bruins all have 3 games in hand on the Canes. Carolina does not play again until Friday. The rest of the contenders will be vying for up to four points this week while the Canes convalesce and try to re-focus:
- Atlanta v. Florida and Montreal
- Boston v. Colorado and Minnesota
- Montreal v. Atlanta
- Islanders v. Rangers two times.
- Florida v. Flyers and Thrash
- Toronto v. Caps and Sens
In any scenario, the Canes face a tough fight. Two games against New Jersey, a home game vs. the Sharks and five consecutive end of the season games against SE opponents remain on the schedule. Tampa has a most brutal schedule awaiting them - including the finish of their tour across the Northwest. Atlanta still has to play the Sharks and Sabres one more time.
Thus, hope remains, but things no-lookie good for this very inconsistent Carolina team. They are a pretty fragged bunch. There seems to be a lot of flail but little fight in these Canes. Last season, the Canes finished with a net +34 goals for margin. This season, they are a net -10.
To top it all off, Don LeGreca said on NHL Live today that he thinks "in his heart" that the Sabres were the better team last year. Yeah Don, you big fat Empire State homer. How can you ever be wrong when you "think" with your heart? The Canes generated more total points, earned the #2 seed, and won the season's head-to-head matchups (Canes 3-1 vs. the Sabres). This revisionism started even before the conference finals began. It's old. Scoreboard.