The Carolina Hurricanes are trending upward and appear poised to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008-09. Prior to losing five of six to end last season (1-4-1), the Hurricanes made a run at the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference by earning at least one point in 13 straight games (9-0-4). They finished eight points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card. Carolina has added championship pedigree to its young roster this offseason. Forwards Justin Williams and Marcus Kruger, defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, and goalie Scott Darling have won the Cup a combined seven times. A maturing core includes forward Jeff Skinner, who scored an NHL career-high 37 goals last season, and Justin Faulk, whose 17 goals were tied for second in the League among defensemen with Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens and Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who had NHL career highs in points (34), goals (five) and assists (29) last season, agreed to terms on a seven-year contract extension Wednesday.