With their playoff lives on the line, the Carolina Hurricanes fell behind in the first period, 3-0, and could never recover as they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of 17,805 at the RBC on Saturday night.
This will mark the fourth year out of the last five that the Canes failed to make it to the playoffs, although to be fair, the team was not expected by most experts to be in the postseason this time around.
Still, their fate was in their own hands on this night and it was a crushing blow not to take the final step and make it in.
Perhaps it was one night too many, as the Canes had been battling to get above the playoff line, while living right on the edge of it, for over a month now.
Obviously, it was a quiet locker room after the game. The team will have exit physicals and interviews in the next couple of days, then will pack it up for the summer.
Coach Paul Maurice mentioned that Eric Staal was playing with a bad groin for the past three weeks, and it was just getting worse and worse. I'm sure more inside info will be released in the coming days about hidden ailments and injuries.
While "Hurricane Season" might be over, we'll have plenty more here on the blog in the coming weeks.
- I was expecting a more physical game. The Canes only had 13 hits and never got their aggressive forecheck going like they did in most recent games. Not sure why they did not ramp up their physical game more, unless they had nothing more to give.
- The team peppered Mike Smith with 44 shots on goal, led by Staal, Skinner, and Corvo with six each. Smith made some nice saves, but the Canes were always a step away from the juicy rebounds which were there for the taking.
Post game interviews are after the jump: