Eric Staal and Cam Ward Keeping Hope In Carolina

After the Carolina Hurricanes let another game go in the last few seconds of overtime last night it feels like the Hurricanes season is dwindling down. The Hurricanes earned themselves a point on the road in overtime in Denver, but the Hurricanes are still in last place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points. The Hurricanes need roughly, at the least 90 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference (the 90 point statistic coming from the average of 8th place the past three seasons).

The Hurricanes have 26 games left on the schedule and need to make up at least 39 points. Not to mention the Hurricanes only have 12 home games left on the season and 14 on the road. It is gonna be a tough task to make up but as history has shown, the Hurricanes are a March and April team.

After a dismal start to the season Eric Staal has been the unsung hero in Raleigh as of late. Staal started the season with four goals and six assists in his first 24 games of the season, the worst start of his career. Since the new year has rolled around Staal has been on fire. With another goal tonight against the Avalanche, Staal now has seven goals and fourteen assists, 21 points in his last 18 games. He leads all Hurricanes in points on the season, and is in the top five in the league in total faceoffs won.

The other unsung hero on the Hurricanes is Cam Ward. Cam Ward started the season 8-12-3 with a save percentage of 90.4% and a Goals Against Average of 3.29 in his first 24 games of the season. Since he turned his season around in late December he is now 10-4-5. Since the new year has started, in 2012 Ward has a save percentage of 94.4% and a Goals Against Average of 1.83 with two shutouts.

It is safe to say the franchise players are there in Carolina, but how can Jim Rutherford and the rest of the Hurricanes management build around their stars to help them out?

You can follow Sterling Eby on Twitter @TheSterlo

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