North Carolinians won’t have a chance to drink out of the Stanley Cup this year thanks to a four-game to none spanking of the Carolina Hurricanes by the Florida Panthers in the best-of-seven semi-final round of the National Hockey League playoffs which determines who takes home the cherished trophy.
Now, the Panthers move on to the finals while the Hurricanes head back to Raleigh after a terrific season that came to an abrupt and heart-breaking end on Wednesday, May 24 when the Panthers beat the Canes 4 to 3.
Though the Canes didn’t win a game in the series, the individual games were amazingly close: The Canes lost all four games by a single point, and two of those games went into overtime – with one taking four overtimes.
In the do or die game May 24 against the Panthers, the Hurricanes trailed most of the game after Florida scored two quick goals early. As time wound down in the third and final period, the Hurricanes trailed 3 to 2, but scored a goal to tie things up just minutes before time expired. The game looked certain to go into overtime, however, with just four seconds left, the Panthers scored a winning goal that sent the home crowd into ecstasy and sent the Hurricanes packing.
The Panthers, now the winners of the Eastern Conference, will go on to face the winner of the Western Conference series between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars.
The playoffs are marked this year because the four teams in the conference championships are all from warm weather states. The National Hockey League has for the most part been dominated by teams from cold weather states and provinces since the creation of the league that boasted only four teams from Canada when the league was first formed in 1917.