The Carolina Hurricanes have not had the best of seasons. Firmly ensconced in last place in the Southeast Division -- which is possibly the weakest division in the entire NHL -- the Canes are far removed from their 2006 Stanley Cup. Sure, they still have pieces of that team around, most notably captain Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward. The team still hasn't been able to be the surprise powerhouse that they were the year that they defeated the Edmonton Oilers. Maybe next season.
Heaven knows that the Southeast Division's wide open enough to be successful in. The fairly average Florida Panthers are leading it with just 79 points (the Hurricanes are in a three-way tie for last in the conference with 67 points). To put that into perspective, the current division leader is in 15th place in the entire league. The Blues, in contrast, have 98 points and are seated atop the NHL. You can't predict the winner of a hockey game on points and standings, however -- it would be a mistake to assume that just because the Blues have 31 more points than the Hurricanes that they'll win handily.
Frankly, with the sloppy way that the Blues have been playing lately, there's a chance they could muck the game up. Tuesday night's loss in Chicago was frustrating; it's amazing that the Blues escaped there with a point at all. Sloppy passes and a lack of being able to maintain offensive pressure led to an implosion. If the Hawks hadn't've started Ray Emery, the Blues very well could have been shut out 3-0. They've gotten seven of eight points in their last four games, but as Dan O'Neill points out in the Post-Dispatch, they didn't necessarily get those by thumping the opposition. The Blues came up two short in trying to break the NHL's consecutive penalties killed record. I use the word "trying," because in the last three games they've taken 28 penalties. How in the world they've managed to get five out of six possible points in those three games is beyond me.
The Blues are trying to shape up, and the Hurricanes are a good team to start doing that against.