Hurricane season is over, but at least Carolina saved their best period of hockey this season for the last period played in the year so that everyone can remember it fondly! After looking pretty uninterested in the game Saturday night for much of the first 2 periods while falling behind to the Florida Panthers 4-1, the Canes ramped up their skating and intensity to tie the game in the 3rd and win it in over-time, 5-4. Captain Rod Brind'Amour slipped in the game winner and sent a loud and rowdy bunch of Caniacs home happy and filled with hope for a successful new season. It was the 4rth time this year that the Panthers lost to the Canes in OT, but there were no excuses or whining from them after this game. They finally showed a little dignity and class in defeat as they complimented the Stanley Cup Champions for not giving up as well as mentioning how the loud home crowd was definitely a factor in the outcome. David Tanabe scored 2 goals and Erik Cole and Eric Staal both had one each to round out the Cane's scoring.
Most of the Canes will be enjoying a long off season to rest, but Eric Staal, Justin Williams, Cam Ward, and Mike Commodore all accepted invitations to represent Canada in the World Championships in Russia this spring. We will have to keep track of how they do and report any news we can get from that tournament.
Yesterday, the Islanders beat the Devils in a shoot out to squeak into the playoffs over Toronto. It's too bad because I think it could have been one heck of a series between the Sabres and the Leafs, especially between the two rabid and passionate fan bases. Can you just imagine the fights in the stands before, during, and after each game? Canadian hockey fans are probably pretty upset that in essence, a shoot out determined who made it to the playoffs and who didn't. It is a shame it came down to that, but I still prefer a shoot out over a tie game. Until someone comes up with a better idea, I guess shoot outs are here to stay. Tomorrow I will make my first round predictions. Maybe we can get some type of contest going between the Canes Bloggers, or anyone else who wants to leave a comment with their picks. Happy Monday and hope everyone had a good weekend!