Carolina looks to capitalize on spectacular season.

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NHL playoffs are set to start in just under a month, with the first game being played on May 2nd. In the Eastern conference, the top three teams from the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions will automatically qualify for the playoffs, while the next two teams in total points will make it in as a wild card.

As the season winds down, the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, and Pittsburgh Penguins control the Metropolitan division, while the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins control the Atlantic division. With Florida’s win over Buffalo on April 4th, they become the first team officially clinch a playoff berth this year. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals currently hold the wild card spots, with the New York Islanders, and Columbus Blue Jackets right on their tail.

Tampa Bay looks pretty safe in this race, but the Islanders and Blue Jackets remain only three points apart.

The same set up holds true in the Western conference, where the top three finishers from the Central and Pacific divisions, along with two wild cards will make it into the playoff field.

The Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and St. Louis Blues currently stand atop the Central division. While the Calgary Flames, L.A. Kings, and Edmonton Oilers hold ground over the Pacific division.

The wild card race in the Western conference is much closer. As it currently stands, Nashville Predators, and Vegas Golden Knights hold these spots. However, the Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, and Winnipeg Jets are all on the doorstep.

Head coach, Rob Brind’Amour giving his players some last second tips.

One team however, sticks out from the rest when it comes to true competitors for the Stanley Cup. This team is the Carolina Hurricanes.

Carolina sits atop the Metropolitan division with a 45-17-8 record. Head coach, Rob Brind’Amour has his squad playing great defensively right now, and is waiting for the offense to wake up. ‘Amour spent 20 seasons playing in the NHL, for the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, and the Carolina Hurricanes, where he ended winning a Stanley Cup, in 2006.

Carolina’s outstanding defensive play looks to boost them to their first Stanley Cup since the 2006 victory.

Pullquote Photo

We’re getting contributions from different guys every night. One night the goaltending steals us the game and another night one player gets us up with a goal here or there.”

— Rob Brind'Amour

Everyday analysts, who tend to look at the over/under goal lines will usually see that the standard over 6 goals line rarely hits with the Hurricanes. However, even though the team may not be abundantly scoring goals, they are winning. Their stellar defense keeps them in almost every game. If a team is lucky enough to get them in a shootout, the odds are that the canes will lose.

For some reason their defensive abilities don’t turn into offensive advances. This would seem to aid well with the age old saying of “defense wins championships.” If Carolina were to win it all this year, it would be their defense that won it for them.

On April 5, 2022, Carolina dropped a heartbreaker to the Buffalo Sabres. This was a very uncharacteristic loss for the canes, and is really hurting their seeding for the upcoming playoffs as the season winds down.

Besides Carolina, the Toronto Maple Leafs also look to add a Stanley Cup championship this year. The Maple Leafs are almost the exact opposite of the canes. Toronto scores with great efficiency. Not many teams can keep up with the amount of goals they put up, game after game. The only team that matches their offensive dominance is the Florida Panthers. For that reason, I am confident in saying that this years eastern conference finals will be between some combination of Florida, Toronto, and Carolina.

Panthers vs. maple Leafs facing off in a high scoring, 7-6 victory for the Panthers. (Getty Images)

When put into perspective their is a huge disadvantage to teams in the Eastern conference. It appears that all the top teams are in this conference, and teams that would have a shot at a Stanley Cup will not advance very far in the playoffs because of this.

The Western conference playoffs should shake down to Minnesota, and Colorado. Edmonton and Calgary will look to change that, but the Wild, and the Avalanche are just built better.

Overall, the upcoming playoff season in the NHL should be very interesting. A lot of high scoring games should be expected, unless Carolina is playing. The world will surely be cheering for Carolina, as they look to end their championship drought, led by a former player.