It's back to work for the Canes today. Time to prepare for the final push.
But with just 31 games remaining and 10 points out of playoff position, how much of a push can the Canes make?
"It's hard to say," general manager Jim Rutherford says. "There's so much parity and you don't know how injuries will affect teams, or which teams will fall off. All we can do is keep the work ethic we've had and win as many games as we can.
"The last five years we've seen playoff spots decided in game 81 and we've been knocked out in game 82. Washington was 14 points behind us one year and won the division. A lot of things can happen."
Things, as in trades. There have been rumblings the Canes will begin this week to move pending unrestricted free agents with an eye toward a team makeover for next season. There also have been rumblings the Canes have decided to loosen the purse strings in the offseason and be in the bidding for some top-dollar free agents such as a Zach Parise.
Rutherford has talked in general terms about trades but will make no comment on possible free-agent targets, of course.
Everyone probably has heard the trade rumors by now. Tuomo Ruutu to the Predators, Ruutu to the Blackhawks, Ruutu to the Red Wings, Ruutu to the Bruins. Tim Gleason to the Flyers, Gleason to the Flames, Gleason to the Senators, Gleason to the Bruins. Really narrows it down, doesn't it?
Jim Rutherford is the only man with the answers. Beginning this week, those answers may start coming.