The Stanley Cup Playoffs is a wildly unpredictable and emotional rollercoaster that 16 teams embark onto every year.
No matter where you get on, everybody has the same chance to be the last team standing and expecting anything just sets you up for failure.
And while the postseason can be unpredictable, experience still matters.
Knowing how to ride the highs, but more than anything, knowing how to ride the lows is a key component that takes riding it a few times to truly understand.
That was evident tonight as the Canes put together their best bounce back performance of the postseason, culminating in a 6-1 Game 4 beatdown of the Devils in Newark.
Following the embarrassment that was Game 3, a game the Hurricanes lost 8-4, it would have been easy for the team to be in its own head following a poor start to Game 4 that saw them trailing 1-0 early, again.
And in past years, that’s probably what would have happened.
But this isn’t the teams of the past.
This team has weathered more than their fair share of adversity, added savvy vets and collected year after year of experience to get to this moment. They’re different now.
So even after New Jersey took an early lead, Carolina didn’t let their game slip, and a big part of that is because of Frederik Andersen.
The Danish netminder was shaky in Game 3, but even after conceding the first goal, he was calm in the net for Game 4. He battled through traffic and was the key to keeping the team treading water while they got their feet under them.
And when the Hurricanes finally did get going, the rout was on.
They stuck to their systems, kept chipping away at the Devils and eventually they broke through.
The tying goal was all possible thanks to Jaccob Slavin who expertly forced a turnover in the neutral zone and fed the Canes in on a rush. Jordan Martinook then attempted to get a pass across to Martin Necas, but it was deflected by a New Jersey defenseman.
But that mattered naught as Necas followed the puck all the way and slammed it home at the perfect moment.
And not too long into the second period, essentially the same play happened again, with Necas having to deftly shoot home another deflected pass.
And that’s about when the wheels fell off for the Devils. An experienced, deep and confident Carolina team just took it to New Jersey and there was nothing the Devils could do as they sputtered out helplessly.
Brett Pesce rang it off the post and in, Jesper Fast found the loose puck after a rebound, Brent Burns bombed one from the point and Martinook ripped one bardown.
And that was all just in the second period.
The Devils looked like a team lacking that experience. A shellshocked team that didn’t put up any fight once adversity struck, and who more so simply looked stunned after having their lunch fed to themselves.
While the series is still far from over, Carolina is in the best position they can be with a chance to close it out when they return to Raleigh for Game 5 on Thursday.