Carolina Hurricanes reach playoffs for first time in ten years

James Owens, Online Sport's Editor

The Carolina Hurricanes have been located in Raleigh, N.C. for 22 seasons. The beginning years were full of success with the peak coming in 2006 when they won the Stanley Cup. Since then, the Hurricanes have been in a playoff drought and have not qualified since 2009, when they lost in the conference finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

However, the 2018-2019 season is looking up for the Hurricanes. They finished the regular season with a record of 46-29-7, which put them in fourth place of the Metropolitan Division and 7th in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes were led this year by coach Rod Brind’Amour in his first year as head coach for the team. Brind’Amour was captain of the 2006 Carolina championship team. Another critical piece of the success this season is captain Justin Williams who scored 23 goals this season.   

In their first series, the Hurricanes took on the Washington Capitals, returning Stanley Cup champions. The top seeded Capitals were looking to replicate the success they had in the regular season against the Hurricanes when they lost all four games.  

The Capitals started out fast winning the first two games 4-2 and 4-3 and taking an early 2-0 series lead. The Hurricanes came back in the next game which was also their first home game winning 5-0 with two goals from Warren Foegele and Dougie Hamilton and one from Brook McGinn. The Canes would win the next game 2-1 also at home. The next matchup back in Washington resulted in a commanding 6-0 Capitals win. The Canes, one loss from disqualification, would go on to win the next two games, including game 7 at Washington for the first time in the series.

The Hurricanes created buzz with their 7 game series win over the defending champions and favorites to win.

“This is a team that has had to scratch their way back to where they want to be and because of that I think they are very underrated,” said ESPN analysts and former NHL star Barry Melrose

The Hurricanes took this momentum into the next series against the New York Islanders, who defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. With all of the newfound hype surrounding the team, the Hurricanes started out fast taking a 3-0 series lead and winning the first two at New York and one at home.

With one game to win before advancing to the Eastern Conference finals and a new found swagger the Hurricanes are ready for the challenge and asking for more. Hurricanes player Jordan Staal said,

“We’ve always known how good we were and now the rest of the world is starting to realize what we’re about.”