It’s official, the Carolina Hurricanes will be facing the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final after the Cats knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs in a Game 5 OT thriller Friday night.
The Hurricanes were the first team to advance to the Conference Finals, beating the New Jersey Devils in five games, and now will be facing off against the Comeback Cats.
The series is one ripe with storylines, as it will feature the first time all three Staal brothers have faced off in a playoff series, the return of Eric Staal and coach Paul Maurice who were each huge parts of Carolina’s history, obviously a Southeast Division showdown, and even the return of some castaway Canes in Eetu Luostarinen and Gustav Forsling.
No matter what narrative you choose to latch onto, it’s clear that this series should be an exciting matchup of two skilled and deep teams.
Some quick notes:
- The Hurricanes won the regular season series split 2-1 with a final goal breakdown of 13-7.
- This will be the first time these two teams have ever met in the playoffs.
- Eric Staal had been the franchise’s former leader in postseason scoring, but Sebastian Aho recently passed him in all three of the major categories.
- The last time two Staal brothers faced off in the playoffs was in the 2020 bubble when Jordan Staal and the Canes defeated Marc Staal and the Rangers in three games. The last true playoff series though was 2009 when Jordan Staal and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Eric Staal and the Hurricanes in four games in the ECF.
- Game 1 - 8 p.m. Thursday, May 18 - PNC Arena
- Game 2 - 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20 - PNC Arena
- Game 3 - 8 p.m. Monday, May 22 - FLA Live Arena
- Game 4 - 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 - FLA Live Arena
- Game 5 - 8 p.m. Friday, May 26 - PNC Arena
- Game 6 - 8 p.m. Sunday, May 28 - FLA Live Arena
- Game 7 - 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 - PNC Arena