Canes Face Tough Challenge In New Metro Division

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Carolina Hurricanes could have an easier time filling their arena this season - and a tougher time getting back to the playoffs.

The NHL's realignment meant the end of the Southeast Division and placed the Hurricanes into the new Metropolitan Division.

A division packed with some of the league's most popular teams - Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, both New York teams, New Jersey and Washington - might lead to bigger crowds.

But it also figures to make ending their irksome postseason drought a much bigger challenge.

Defenseman Justin Faulk says the Hurricanes are "pretty confident with the group that we have" and believe they can claim their first postseason berth since 2009.