RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Teuvo Teravainen scored twice in a little more than two minutes early in the third period to tie Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The two markers erased a pair of goals scored earlier by Tyson Jost, but Samuel Girard scored late to give the visitors the win.
With the 3-2 loss, the Carolina Hurricanes have earned just one point from their last four home games as they scratch and claw for a wild-card spot. They fell in overtime to Edmonton, 4-3, on Feb. 16 before back-to-back losses at PNC Arena to the New York Rangers and Dallas Stars.
And now it’s crunch time if the ‘Canes want to make the playoffs. They have 19 games left to play in the regular season and are two points out of the last postseason spot, which is currently occupied by a Columbus team sitting on 76 points with three more games played.
Carolina will make up those games in hand as it plays eight times between Feb. 29 and March 15. All but one of those games will be on the road. The ‘Canes will play three back-to-backs in that span. The first is Saturday’s trip to Montreal after Friday’s loss. Then they’ll be at the New York Islanders on March 7 and at Pittsburgh on March 8, then home against the Penguins on March 14 and at Buffalo on March 15.
Pittsburgh had lost four in a row going into Friday’s game at Anaheim, but is still in contention for the top spot in the Metropolitan Divison. Philadelphia, which will also host the ‘Canes during their road swing, also has its eyes on that top spot.
The Islanders are the other team currently in a playoff position that will welcome the Hurricanes in over the next two weeks. They’ll also visit Montreal and Buffalo — both of whom are, like Carolina, on the outside looking in, but not out os postseason contention just yet.
The ‘Canes are still adjusting to life without goaltenders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. Anton Forsberg allowed three goals on 32 shots faced Friday against a potent Avalanche offense, but the defense in front of him is also incorporating newcomer Brady Skjei.
Most teams would prefer to play at home, but the road has been kind to the ‘Canes lately. They famously downed the Maple Leafs in Toronto, 6-3, with emergency backup goalie David Ayres in net. That was one of four wins in their past five away games as they also beat Arizona, New Jersey, Nashville, and bested Vegas in a shootout.
Each point will be valuable over the final 19 contests, and none of them will come easy. The ‘Canes will be running up against teams fighting either for favorable positioning or, like them, just to make it in.