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About Last Night: We Fight Now?

The Hurricanes get physical in an OT win over the Florida Panthers.

NHL: Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

It was Star Wars Night at PNC Arena, and I imagine many young children were in the stands, watching the hometown team with thoughts of Anakin and Darth Vader, the clash between good and evil.

Instead, the clashes were fought on the ice in a seldom-seen night of violence for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Let’s review “The Fury of the Hurricane,” a play in three acts.

Act 1: With less than a minute to play in the first period, Brock McGinn showed he was about that action with Jared McCann. Fresh off some good whacks for a good scoring chance at the crease, he comes up high on on a hit to McCann and they square off. AN ACTUAL FIGHT! WITH A CANE!

(Sidenote: I love Forslund’s call. “Brock McGinn and Jared McCann drop the mitts here on Star Wars Night.” Yeah, because that’s a relevant detail.)

Act 2: The most talked about incident in my timeline — the Skinner-Matheson-Pysyk incident — isn’t quite a “fight,” but given the star at the center of it, I can understand the sentiment. Matheson went over the top after a hard hit on Skinner, who retaliated and then...well, I can’t tell exactly what Skinner is doing with Matheson after play is stopped, honestly. Is he joking and mad at the same time? It’s like being on the internet but in person form.

Act 3: A few minutes after the Skinner scuffle, Noah Hanifin went at it with Derek MacKenzie. Despite having his punching arm held strategically by the Panthers, Hanifin takes him to the ice.

Of course, Hanifin would also provide the “knockout punch” to win the game, so the Canes come out victorious in this play.

(I have a feeling Forslund may be hoarse this morning.)

I can’t believe this post is devoted to a fight when the bigger implication of this game is we won a game after a humiliating defeat, plus Cam Ward stepped up big in net after getting pulled against the Maple Leafs to earn his 299th career win (fifth among active goalies).

But the fighting is almost historic for us. This action reminded many Caniacs such as myself of a partial return to the Southeast Division days, when the Hurricanes and Thrashers in particular liked to create a little friction.

So yes, rejoice about the win — the subtle deflection by Lindholm, the sweet sweep job by Skinner and a Cardiac Canes moment in OT — but remember that for one night, the Canes were also fighters.