Carolina Hurricanes (30-30-9) at Chicago Blackhawks (40-15-15)
|Date & Time||Friday March 21, 2014, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -231 / Carolina Hurricanes +209 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Hurricanes look to spoil the party in Chicago on Friday night as they look for their second straight win while the Blackhawks look to build off of an impressive win over the Blues.
Carolina has had a tough season thus far and with the playoffs almost certainly out of the question it’ll be a long offseason for Jim Rutherford and the front office as they will have to make some tough decisions regarding the direction of the team. Former league superstar Kirk Muller who is currently the bench boss for the Canes is rumored to be on his way out after failing to lead the team to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons – both of which had ridiculously high expectations for the team. Eric Staal has been the face of the franchise since his debut with the team and the addition of his brother Jordan who was a rising star while with the Pittsburgh Penguins was supposed to push the team into contention but unfortunately it hasn’t fabricated yet. Anton Khudobin who has been very solid in the Carolina crease will match up against Corey Crawford in what looks like a cake walk for the Hawks.
The Blackhawks made a statement to the St. Louis Blues and the rest of the league that they aren’t a team to be messed with and after the Blues went on a stretch that unseated the Hawks as Central division leaders it was clear they wanted to rebut. Chicago still trails the Blues by six points in the division but they are just two points back of the Sharks/Ducks loser from last night for third place, a spot the Hawks would love to reclaim so they can avoid an incredibly tough matchup in the opening round. Chicago is a scary team that is built for the playoffs and as the defending champs it is always tough to repeat as having a target on your back takes its toll but if we are going to have a repeat champion the Hawks certainly play the part. I don’t see any value in this game at all as I think the Hawks should make quick work of the Canes but with nothing to lose that is a dangerous mentality for a team like Carolina. Nonetheless I think we see another low scoring affair as Khudobin has been playing well for Carolina but their offense continues to sputter.