NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 4th
(All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (37-34-9) at Carolina Hurricanes (43-32-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes desperately need two points tonight
as they wrap up their regular season with a home test against the Florida
Panthers at the RBC Center.
The Hurricanes are tied atop the Southeast Division with the surging
Washington Capitals, who drew even in the standings with Thursday's win over
Tampa Bay. However, Carolina could win the division crown with a victory in
tonight's game, as a "W" would push the Hurricanes two points ahead of
Washington and make it impossible for the Capitals to catch them in the win
The 'Canes have been very successful against Florida recently, going 5-2 in
the series this year and winning 12 of 14 and 13 of the last 16 meetings.
Florida is also 0-14 with a tie in its last 15 trips to Raleigh.
Carolina had allowed Washington to draw even in the Southeast Division after
dropping a 4-1 decision in D.C. on Tuesday, but the Hurricanes rebounded the
following night against visiting Tampa Bay.
The Hurricanes notched the 6-2 win over the Hurricanes on Wednesday as Chad
LaRose registered his first career hat trick to help his team regain sole
possession of first place, if only for one night.
Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu each had a goal and an assist for the 'Canes, who
won for just the second time in five games. Scott Walker also tallied, while
Cam Ward stopped 23 shots to earn his 37th victory of the season.
The Hurricanes have a solid 24-12-4 record as the host this season and have
won six of seven and nine of their last 11 home tests.
Florida was eliminated from the postseason race last week, marking the seventh
straight season the Panthers will sit out the playoffs -- the longest current
streak in the NHL.
However, the Panthers could still play spoiler in tonight's game and
Saturday's season finale against Washington.
The Panthers ended a three-game losing streak their last time out, as they
notched a close win in Atlanta on Tuesday. David Booth scored the eventual
game-winner early in the third period to help Florida post the 3-2 victory at
Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester each scored a goal for the Panthers, while
Craig Anderson made 31 saves in the win.
Florida is closing out its season on a three-game road trip and is playing the
middle test of that swing tonight. The Panthers are 19-19-1 as the visiting
club this year and have won three of their last four on the road.
04/04 10:56:08 ET