That’s the only appropriate way to start any conversation about last night. The underdog Carolina Hurricanes marched in to the nation’s capital, went down 2-0 early against an angry Washington Capitals team, and fought back to earn a 4-3 double overtime victory sending them to the second round.
We’re going to keep this one short and to the point today since we only get one full day to celebrate.
The Great - Never Giving Up
From day one of training camp this team felt different. Rod Brind’Amour and Justin Williams had a vision all the way back then, and with their victory last night that vision has become reality. The goal was never just to make the playoffs, it was to make noise in the playoffs and contend for the Stanley Cup. The Carolina Hurricanes are on their way.
Many times throughout the season the Hurricanes could have given up. When Scott Darling was injured in the preseason. When the team struggled through November and December dropping to the near bottom of the standings. Then there was a point in the final few weeks where the team was beaten by these very Capitals twice along with losses to the Penguins and Lightning that saw them nearly outside the cut line. Yet they never gave up.
In this series alone there were numerous chance to roll over and say we’re just happy to be here, yet they never gave up. Not after going down 2-0 in the series. Not after getting embarrassed in game five. Not after giving up the first goal in game six. Not after getting down 2-0 in game seven. They never gave up. They earned this series win.
From the leadership at the top, to the young superstars in the making, to the call-ups from Charlotte thrust in to action due to injuries, everyone gave it their all. Look no further than the man who won the game in double overtime, Brock McGinn, for a great example. He literally saved the game with two minutes to go in the third period by diving through the crease to bat a puck away.
That’s earning it. That should be remembered just as much as his goal. But it won’t be. Because it’s just another play for a guy like McGinn who has been overlooked and unheard of around the league. But that play, is the Carolina Hurricanes. That play, is earning it.
The Even Greater - Just Win
It seems cliche and maybe it is, but the absolute best part of last night was of the final play. There were mistakes along the way and plenty of stuff we could break down and talk about, but why? Shout out to Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen for pulling the team back in to the game. Major shout out to Jordan Staal, who found his inner Eric with his game tying goal in the third. But ultimately nobody will remember these goals, with maybe a slight exception to Staal’s. It’s on to the Islanders and what happened against Washington no longer matters.
The only thing that people will truly remember from last night is Justin Williams setting up Brock McGinn for the game winner in double overtime. It was such a simple play but it got the job done. Williams simply threw a puck at the net and McGinn was in the right place at the right time.
The goal heard round the world! pic.twitter.com/dRun0WgIhz— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) April 25, 2019
He may not have scored the goal but Mr. Game 7 came through again.
It seems fitting that such a simple play would win the series for the Hurricanes because they are such a simple team. They aren’t flashy like the Capitals. They put their heads down and get the job done, earning everything along the way.
Moral of the Story
What a night for the Carolina Hurricanes. To knock of the defending Stanley Cup champions on the road in double overtime is a moment none of us will soon forget. No matter what happens in round two this team has surpassed every expectation. But it’s time to move on and forget about Washington now. The focus is on to a very well rested New York Islanders team who will certainly be ready to go.
The Hurricanes just took down the defending champions, but now they have to take down the defending champion’s coach. At this point anything is certainly possible. But they will have to continue to earn it every step of the way just like they did last night.
For the final time when discussing round one: WOOOOOO!!!!