DALLAS - In the words of Petr Mrazek, "We're in! We're in! Yes! Yes! Woo!"
The Carolina Hurricanes have officially punched their ticket to the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
By virtue of obtaining their 69th point in the standings in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars, the Canes are now mathematically guaranteed to finish in the top four in the Central Division. This will be the Canes' third consecutive appearance in the postseason, a first in Canes history and the first time the franchise has done so since the Hartford Whalers made seven straight trips to the playoffs from 1986-92.
"I'm incredibly proud of this group led by Rod," Canes President and General Manager Don Waddell said. "These guys play for each other and that's what make a good team into a great team."
Video: Carolina Hurricanes clinch playoff berth
The Canes currently occupy first place in the Central Division and would face the Nashville Predators if the season ended today. However, seeding amongst the top four teams in the Central Division remains dependent on what happens in the final two-and-a-half weeks of the regular season. Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay are jockeying for first place, while only one of Nashville or Dallas (or Chicago by a long shot) will slide into the playoffs as the division's four seed.
After claiming six of a possible eight points in Tampa and Florida in the first two legs of this road trip, the Canes have created some separation at the top of the division standings. The Canes hold a two point advantage over Florida with two games in hand and a three point advantage over Tampa Bay. The Canes won't face either team again in the regular season after this weekend, while Florida and Tampa Bay will face each other twice to cap their 56-game schedules.
The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in mid-May. Additional playoff details, including a full schedule, ticket information and more, will be announced in the coming weeks.