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Up next: Ray Whitney, Jussi Jokinen and the Carolina Hurricanes

[SBN Hurricanes blog - Canes Country]

Record:29-33-8 (14th in the East)

Scorers:Jussi Jokinen (27g, 29a), Eric Staal (22g, 34a), Ray Whitney (21g, 31a)

Seeing as how the Hurricanes have been eliminated from playoff contention for a good week now, there's not much more the team can do at this point but hope to spoil win streaks, ruin playoff dreams and potentially better their chances at a top pick in the upcoming draft.  But given those scenarios, the only one that really applies to today's 1pm start is the latter.  So with that said, let's see the Penguins do their part and help Carolina's chances in the draft this summer.

Today marks the final game of the season between the Pens and Canes in a season series tied at 1-1-1.  Sure, we'll have a definitive winner by the end of the day, but as previously mentioned, the Penguins are the only ones who can really benefit from a 'W' here. Ray Whitney and Eric Staal have both been on tears, but in the end you can only applaud their competitive streak.

Where did the season go?  Eleven regular season games remain on Pittsburgh's schedule.  Washington currently hold an impressive 15 point lead in the Conference which is, safe to say, likely strong enough to hold off any other teams for the remainder of the season.  While it is an admirable feat to finish the season at the top of the Conference, it would appear as if luck is not in the top team's corner since returning from the lockout in 2005.  Since then, no number one team has won, or even advanced for that matter, to the Stanley Cup Finals. Just a thought.

It's an early start today so hopefully you west coasters are up early to take it in.  This may pose as one of the easier games over the next four, as the Penguins still have Detroit, Washington and Philly on tap next week.  However, if you want to invest some hope in this game, then rest assured a two-point win more or less guarantees a Pittsburgh playoff berth, regardless of how they close out the remainder of the season.

Puck and thread at 1pm.