With 26 games to go in the second season of BEARD Hockey, the Carolina Hurricanes are pushing with all they have for their first playoff berth.
Currently sitting second in the Metro Division with 70 points, they are only 5 points ahead of the second wild-card spot currently held by the Tampa Bay Lighting.
The Canes do hold a two-game advantage over the division leader New Jersey Devils so hopefully, that will come in handy down the stretch.
A big part of the Canes success this year has been the homecoming of stoic veteran Eric Staal. Staal has posted 57 pts (19G, 38A) which is good to lead the team. The play of Staal has also bolstered the stats and development of his linemates Tyler Bertuzzi (3rd in points on the team) and Denis Gurianov (team-leading best +14).
The signing of Eric Staal was meant to be a swan song exit to a storied career and was believed to be just for the one season. It would seem that Staal may have more left in the tank than what was to believe and many are wondering if an extension could be possible.
The Hurricanes have also had a stellar season from future Hall of Famer goaltender Carey Price this year which has also contributed to their current standing. Price started out the season with knockout numbers, but his game began to slide around the 30-game mark.
As of late, Price seems to have solved any issues he was having and is back to providing a dominating presence between the pipes for the Canes. Price currently is 28-14-1 on the season posting a GAA of 2.63, Save % of .915 with 2 shutouts. He is expected to get the bulk of the remaining starts this season as the Canes push hard for the post-season.
With 80% of their defense more than likely to retire or leave via Free Agency, the time for the Canes to win is now.
With the trade deadline coming up it remains to be seen if the Canes will make any big moves to bolster their chances at a deep Cup run.