Blog Entry

Playoff Watch: Carolina, Tampa get quick rematch

Posted on: March 26, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 5:25 pm
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WHO CAN CLINCH: The Pittsburgh Penguins (idle Saturday) are in if the Carolina Hurricanes lose in any fashion. The Boston Bruins could have clinched with some help today, but fell to the New York Rangers, 1-0.

ALREADY IN: Vancouver, Philadelphia and Washington. 

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Tampa Bay Lightning (39-24-11) at Carolina Hurricanes (35-29-10), 7 p.m. ET

The first half of this home-and-home went well for the ‘Canes, who remained three points behind the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres. Erik Cole scored twice to lead Carolina past host Tampa Bay, 4-3, on Friday. The teams have split the first four meetings this season, although the two Southeast Division clubs have been going in opposite directions as of late. 

The ‘Canes enter on a three-game winning streak, while the Lightning have dropped four in a row with only two victories over the last 10 games. (Tampa did get points in four of those games with OT/shootout losses.) Tampa has allowed three goals on the penalty kill over the last two games, but they’ve also scored that many on the power play with two coming off the stick of Simon Gagne on Friday. 

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Anaheim Ducks (41-28-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (40-25-8), 8:30 p.m. ET

With the Western Conference standings as bunched up as they are, this Blackhawks (seventh place) and the Ducks (eighth) game should have another playoff game vibe to it. When Patrick Kane scores, like he did in Wednesday’s victory over the Florida Panthers, things usually bode well for the ‘Hawks, who are 15-1-2 when the forward lights the lamp. It’ll be interesting to see which goalie -- Jonas Hiller, Dan Ellis or Ray Emery -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle will go with tonight. Hiller was shaky in his return from more than a month off due to vertigo and Ellis and Emery had been solid in net in recent weeks. 

GOLF WATCH: The New York Islanders need to win and have the Buffalo Sabres lose in regulation to remain in it. Florida, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Colorado are already mathematically eliminated. 

--- A.J. Perez
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