The Carolina Hurricanes pulled off an impressive home win Friday against the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, but saw the New York Islanders complete a season series sweep the next night, beating the Canes 4-3 on Long Island. Jussi Jokinen scored the game-winner vs. San Jose, while Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty kept their respective point streaks alive by getting on the score sheet each night.
The split puts Carolina at 55 points with a 22-26-11 record, last in the Eastern Conference.
1. Any glimmer of hope the Hurricanes had at making a postseason run likely ended with the loss on Long Island. A win would've put Carolina seven points out of eighth place, but instead the team is nine points out and again at the bottom of the conference with too many teams to climb over. Further complicating matters is the injury to Cam Ward, who left the Islanders game after two periods with a lower body injury. Even the most cheery of optimists likely have a hard time envisioning the Canes overcoming those odds.
2. Staal and Tlusty continue to put up points as a tandem on the top line. Staal had assists in each game, while Tlusty registered an assist against San Jose and scored at New York. Tlusty now has a point in seven straight while Staal has a five-game point streak. Even without Tuomo Ruutu, who is injured and had manned the other wing on the top line, the first line has been Carolina's most dangerous.
3. John Tavares absolutely destroyed the Hurricanes this season, scoring 12 points in the Isles' four-game season series sweep of Carolina. That's twice the amount he has against any other team this season, as he has six points in three games vs. Tampa Bay. Tavares is still not on the Sidney Crosby/Alex Ovechkin level some expected of him when he was chosen first overall in 2009, but as far as the Canes are concerned he's the NHL's deadliest weapon.
Number To Know
404 — Days the Hurricanes went without a win from someone other than Ward, a run that was broken when Justin Peters earned the 'W' Friday against San Jose. Peters was the last Canes backup to get a victory, beating the now-defunct Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 9, 2011.
Brandon Sutter — The shutdown line, anchored by Sutter, erased the trio of Joe Thornton-Patrick Marleau-Joe Pavelski Friday, keeping them off the scoreboard and limiting them to a combined five shots. Sutter then followed up that performance by scoring against the Isles. Tavares lit up the Canes again Saturday, but it wasn't on Sutter's watch — the only time Tavares and Sutter were on the ice together when a goal was scored, it was when Sutter tied the game at 1 in the second period.
Jaroslav Spacek — Spacek did score against the Isles, but for the most part the weekend was a struggle for the veteran blueliner. He and partner Jamie McBain were on the ice for four of the six goals scored on the Canes in the back-to-back, and Spacek looked particularly slow on Tavares' second-period goal Saturday that tied the game at 2. If scouts were watching Spacek closely this weekend, chances are his trade value went down.