The Carolina Hurricanes took one big step to getting to the Conference finals with a 5-2 win over the NY Islanders in front of over 19,000 at the loudest house in the NHL, the PNC Arena. The game was much tighter than the score as the Canes scored two late open net goals.
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Mr. Game 7, aka Justin Williams, had another huge Game 7 when with just over 11 minutes gone, he won a battle along the boards and just flung the puck to the net hoping for the best. Brock McGinn muscled in for a position in front of the net and tapped in the overtime game winner to send the Hurricanes to Round Two against the Islanders. It was the second game in a row the Canes came from behind and first game in this series the home team did not win.
For the first time in this head-to-head series, the home team did not score the first goal that also led to the home team winning the game but the Canes answered in a resounding manner, typical of the playing days of coach Rod Brind’Amour, with a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
It took all of 17 seconds for the Bunch of Jerks to get the all-important first goal on a great tic-tac-toe play ending with Warren Foegele slapping in the first shot of the game off a phenomenal pass from Jaccob Slavin. So far, each team that has scored the first goal has gone on to win as both teams also had impressive records during the regular season for a win after scoring the initial goal.
This game meant so much for both teams for making the playoffs: the Canes needed the two points to ensure they stay in the top Wildcard spot; for the Flyers, if they lose, their playoff hopes are extinguished. The parking lot had the tailgaters grilling and enjoying the perfect afternoon, with fans from both teams having a good time predicting the outcome. After falling behind on an early Claude Giroux goal, the Canes responded with a solid 5-2 win in front of a nearly sellout crowd.
The defending Stanley Cup champs, the Washington Capitals, swept the Canes in a crucial home and home series this week with a 3-2 win over the Canes at the PNC Arena Thursday, March 28, 2019. The Canes still sit in the top Wildcard spot but the entire Wildcard got interesting this past 24 hours as Columbus beat Montreal, so both have 90 points with the Canes at 91.
After Tuesday’s collapse in the third period against the best team in hockey and certainly one of the best in hockey history, Tampa Bay, the Carolina Hurricanes bounced back against Western Conference foe the Minnesota Wild, 5-1 in front of a fun crowd that started getting into playoff form.
For the second game in a row against Tampa Bay, the Canes entered the third period leading the Lightning but eventually lost against a very powerful team that plays a full 60 minutes each and every game.
Both the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins knew the criticality of this particular game as they were separated by just three points in the Playoff race. If the Canes win and that drops to just one point, they lose in regulation and they’re behind by five, which at this point in the season could be too large to overcome. As much as I don’t like three-point games, this one turned into that as the Canes did find a way to win with a 3-2 shootout victory.
On a beautiful nearly Spring day, the atmosphere both outside and inside the PNC Arena was reminiscent of the spring of 2006 when the Caniacs set the standard for tailgating at hockey games outside and earning the then-reputation of the loudest house in the NHL. The Canes were coming off a tough 3-0 loss to the Blue Jackets, the other team that’s in a Wildcard position while the Buffalo Sabres were waiting and resting in Raleigh, and needed these two points to solidify their wildcard position while also watching the scoreboard a little to see if they can inch up to the third spot in the east.