Either the Carolina Hurricanes don't want to pick high in the NHL Entry Draft, or they truly believe they still have a shot at making the NHL Playoffs. The Canes notched back-to-back road wins this weekend, rallying from a third-period deficit both nights to earn four points in the standings.
Chad LaRose scored in both games, Drayson Bowman had a three-point night in Minnesota, and Eric Staal shrugged off the Winnipeg crowd with two goals the next night to move Carolina to 29-29-15. The Canes are now in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 73 points and nine games remaining. They are five points behind eighth place Washington, with Buffalo and Winnipeg both above them in the standings.
1. As they say, don't poke the bear. But the Jets fans did exactly that Sunday, starting "Jordan's better!" chants at Staal and booing every time he touched the puck. The result? Staal scorched the Jets for three points and put his Southeast Division foe further from a playoff spot. The MTS Centre crowd has been rightfully praised for its energy — the impact is reflected in Winnipeg's home record — but I imagine they will think twice before taking on Staal again.
2. Only Columbus has allowed more third-period goals than the 82 given up by Carolina, which makes the Hurricanes' dramatic come-from-behind wins even more impressive. The Canes outscored the Wild and Jets by a combine 5-0 in the back-to-back set for just their second and third wins this season when trailing after two periods.
3. A win was a long-time coming for backup goalie Brian Boucher. When Boucher was signed to solidify the backup spot behind Cam Ward, no one could have envisioned he wouldn't get his first win until mid-March. But that's what happened when Boucher shrugged off a tricky backhand goal in the first period by Minnesota's Kyle Brodziak that he probably thought he should have stopped and got better as the game went on. It had been almost 11 months since Boucher got a win, picking up the Game 7 victory over Buffalo in last year's playoffs. He now stands at 1-4-1 on the season.
Number To Know
5 — Game-winning goals this season for LaRose, a new career-best after he tallied the deciding goal Sunday with 1:22 left against the Jets. It also ties him for the team-lead with Jeff Skinner, and ranks tied for 26th in the NHL.
Chad LaRose — There isn't a hotter Carolina player than LaRose, who scored in both games — the empty-net clincher Saturday and the game-winner Sunday — and now had six goals in nine games since returning from injury. He was a combined plus-5 over the weekend and had a career-high 10 shots against the Wild.
Derek Joslin — At this point, Joslin's role is pretty similar to what an enforcer would bring. He plays limited minutes, can't do a whole lot in the offensive end, and is basically out there to bring physicality and energy. He does what is asked of him, but wouldn't it be more prudent to use someone there that could also contribute on the penalty kill? That would probably help keep Staal from having to log nearly 27 minutes like he did Sunday.