Statistically speaking, the Hurricanes remain a very unlikely party to make the playoffs. Having to make up a four-point gap in six games, it's easy to see why many websites place their playoff chances at less than 1 percent.
But with their paths passing through both the Islanders and Bruins camps, the Hurricanes have the potential to make the postseason trip that much harder for those still in the hunt. They did just that to the Devils, who they passed in the playoff race with their 3-2 victory on Easter Sunday.
Even with that four-point deficit, they're now breathing down the necks of both the Red Wings and Flyers. Though Carolina doesn't face either team, the Hurricanes can certainly give them a scare if they gain any more ground and heat up at the right time.
Carolina's recent 4-2-4 record shouldn't be overlooked either, as they've been able to get points in all but two of their last 10 games. At this time of year, points are a precious commodity to those still jockeying for a playoff spot. Over the last few weeks, the Hurricanes have taken the league's best Capitals to overtime, beat the Bruins in the extra period in the midst of their postseason hunt and gained a point against the slipping Islanders.
While it doesn't make much of a difference in their bid for the playoffs, the Hurricanes' ability to hang around in games might end up taking points away from a team that needs them the most by season's end. And if I were the Islanders and Bruins, I'd have March 29 and April 5 circled on my calendar in the biggest, boldest red I could find.
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3 things we learned
1. Eric Staal is feeling right at home in New York
The former Hurricane captain was doing some work of his own on Sunday. After scoring just one goal in 13 games with the Rangers since being dealt at the deadline, Staal had himself a game against the Penguins with the only two goals for New York. One was even a nifty backhanded poke that helped the Rangers jump out early.
2. Blackhawks steal important morale win in Vancouver
Chicago hasn't been their normal selves over the last few weeks. So much so that they've gone from a team fighting for the top of the Central to one keeping themselves afloat above the wild card. Before Sunday, the Blackhawks were 3-5-2 in their last 10 games and lost six of their last eight. Withstanding two equalizers from the Canucks, the Blackhawks came out of Vancouver with a well-needed 3-2 victory to string together two wins for the first time since mid-February.
And, they clinched a playoff spot, too. Not bad, Chicago.
3. The 2016 Frozen Four is set
There was other hockey action besides the NHL on Sunday, as the final teams of the Frozen Four are now in place for the annual NCAA tournament. Quinnipiac and Denver punched their tickets with decisive wins on Easter Sunday, joining Boston College and North Dakota as the two other teams that will travel to Tampa Bay for a chance at the championship. You can see how the entire tournament has broken down so far in our living post.
The Blackhawks are good at hockey. Don't forget it.
Stat of the Night
#Blackhawks have won 11 straight games vs Canadian teams. They have outscored them 42-8 with 5 shutouts in those games.— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 27, 2016