The Carolina Hurricanes spent much of the season trying to fix a broken power play.
It took a mandate from Canes coach Kirk Muller and a personal challenge before the penalty killing improved.
That both special teams have become more effective of late has made the Canes a tougher team to beat, but it’s too late. With five games left, they likely will be left out of the Stanley Cup playoffs for a fifth consecutive year.
When Carolina was beating the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Thursday, getting power-play goals from defensemen Justin Faulk and John-Michael Liles, the Columbus Blue Jackets also were winning. The Jackets hold the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and stayed six points ahead of the Canes.
Columbus (39-30-7) had a chance to add to its cushion Friday when it hosted the Chicago Blackhawks. The Canes (34-32-11) on Saturday face the New Jersey Devils, another team ahead of them in the standings.
The power-play goals by Liles and Faulk in the second period helped pus...