There is very little "space between" seven teams in the Eastern Conference who are all battling each other for four playoff spots. At the top of this group is Atlanta with 88 points and at the bottom is Toronto with 82. Floating in between those teams are the NY Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, NY islanders and Montreal Canadiens. The Canes, Islanders, and Habs are all at 84 points and are virtually tied for the 8th spot, so there is no room for an off game from anyone. This week most of these teams will be playing against each other. Will the contenders finally separate themselves from the pretenders?
The Hurricanes are in Toronto to play the Leafs tonight with a chance to put some space between themselves and Coach Paul Maurice's team. The Canes are 5-1-1 in their past 7 games and have been playing excellent hockey. The Leafs are coming off a split with the Sabres and they are 2-2-1 in their past 5. It will be a playoff atmosphere again tonight with both teams knowing that a loss would put them in an unfavorable position to make the playoffs. The pressure will be on! Carolina is led in scoring, (points) so far this month by Scott Walker, (10), Andrew Ladd, (9), and Joe Vasicek, (7). Could the recent winning streak have anything to do with the 3rd line coming to life on the scoreboard? I would bet so! Andrew Ladd is riding a 2 game streak where he has scored game winning goals. Let's make it 3 in a row tonight, Andrew!
In other news, Cam Ward shaved his head last week for St. Baldrick's which is a fundraising organization helping to fund cancer research. Chuck Kaiton and Tripp Tracy shaved their heads as well, just a bit earlier than Cam. To see a photo shoot of the event, check this link out.... Ward photos and to donate money to Cam's cause check this link...donate . Good luck to Cam in reaching his goal and to all the other volunteers trying to raise money for an outstanding cause.
It should be another exciting game tonight. Go Canes Go!