Hurricane Forecast: Playoff Pipe Dream

It is Monday yet again, Hurricanes’ fans, which means it is time for the seven-day outlook in this weeks Hurricane Forecast.

Week in Review

What started out promising, quickly turned into more of the same for the Carolina Hurricanes last week.

The Hurricanes opened up the week with a 3-2-overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks, off of a Jay Harrison goal with 42 seconds remaining in the OT period.  And, with optimism and stability on the rise with the re-signing of goalie Anton Khudobin, the ‘Canes got set to take on the Rangers and the Devils to end the week.

[Check out my latest article analyzing the deal for Anton Khudobin and what it means for Cam Ward]

That is when things turned south for the second straight week since the Olympic break.  Carolina lost 4-2 in front of a home crowd on Friday, followed by a wild 5-4 loss to the Devils the very next day.

Eric Staal
Things are not going as planned for Staal and the Hurricanes(James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE)

Even the most loyal, optimistic fan said goodbye to the playoffs following the loss to the Devils.  The Hurricanes now sit eight points behind Columbus for the final playoff spot.  It is time for ‘Canes fans to set their sights on June’s NHL Entry Draft.

The Week Ahead for the Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes have four games on the slate for the upcoming week.  Three of these games will be home games and an opportunity for Carolina to get back on track.

There is very little hope left for the Carolina Hurricanes’ playoff run, but this fan base still deserves to see good effort on the ice.  This team is not built to quit, with stars like Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Alexander Semin leading the way.

A Look at the Games

vs. New York Rangers (35-26-4, 74 points)

Tuesday March 11th, 7:00pm

Outlook: The Carolina Hurricanes welcome back the New York Rangers just four days after the Rangers’ last trip to Carolina.  The result then was not pretty, a 4-2 loss for the ‘Canes.  However, these types of games tend to favor the home team.  I look for Carolina to bounce back and give their home fans their first taste of victory since February 7th, 2014.

vs. Buffalo Sabres (19-36-8, 46 points)

Thursday March 13th, 7:00pm

Outlook: The home stand continues with Buffalo coming to town Thursday night.  The Sabres, who have a league’s worst 46 points, defeated the Hurricanes on the opening night of hockey after Olympic play.  It is what began the downward spiral for the Carolina Hurricanes, who were still very much in the playoff hunt at the time of the meeting.  Expect Carolina to exact some revenge at home.  After all, they can’t lose to Buffalo again.  Can they?

@ Boston Bruins (42-17-5, 89 points)

Sunday March 15th, 1:00pm

Outlook: The Hurricanes will be hoping for some Pre-St. Patty’s Day luck of the Irish, as they travel to Beantown to

The 'Canes will have to figure out Tuukka Rask on Saturday (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
The ‘Canes will have to figure out Tuukka Rask on Saturday (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

take on the first-place Boston Bruins on Saturday.  The Bruins have everything going right for them as they enter the week on a five game winning streak.  This is not the type of team who takes opponents lightly.  The Bruins should handle the Hurricanes in this matchup.

vs. Edmonton Oilers (22-35-8, 52 points)

Sunday March 16th, 3:00pm

Outlook:  Do not expect the Western Conference’s worst team to come in to Carolina lying down.  With just 52 points, the Edmonton Oilers may be in the bottom of the standings, but they are a young, talented team with a lot to prove.  I actually think Edmonton will come in and take this one from Carolina, with the Hurricanes a little gassed from the trip to Boston the day before.

What to Watch For

The Carolina Hurricanes recently dealt Tuomo Ruutu to New Jersey for Andrei Loktionov, before the trade deadline.  While Ruutu is thriving in a Devils’ uniform, the ‘Canes are still searching for production out of their new 23-year old center.  Loktionov has zero points and a minus-one rating in two games for the Hurricanes since the acquisition.

Carolina Hurricanes
The ‘Canes said goodbye to Tuomo Ruutu at the Trade Deadline Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr

This week will show how much character and poise this Carolina team has.  With not much left to play for, as the playoffs are almost out of the question, will the Hurricanes coast through the remainder of the season, or will they continue to fight and play with effort?