These two teams have had a very length history between one another, being division foes since the introduction of the Southeast Division in the 1998-99 NHL season. Since the 2000’s the Canes have gone 43-62-6 in 111 meetings with Washington. Although the Hurricanes teams of old weren’t as deep as their current line up, when you exclude the six ties, these numbers clearly illustrate the dominance the Caps have had, with them winning 60% of the time.
In present day, the Carolina Hurricanes now boast a team that is deeper from top to bottom. Aside from their power play, there doesn’t seem to be any real glaring weakness on paper. Entering last season, the Capitals were coming off their first Stanley Cup victory, looking to defend their title while the Hurricanes continued to be a question mark.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the Capitals found themselves in a familiar spot at the top of the Metro division standings and the Hurricanes surprised the league, finally ending their decade long playoff drought.
Going into the first round, not many people were giving the Hurricanes much of a chance against the reigning champs. Around the league, several analysts were suggesting the series could end as early as four games, with the Caps winning in a sweep. Based on the first two games in Washington, it looked like this was the direction the series was heading.
But, as the old saying goes, “you’re never out of a series until you loose at home,” something the Canes had yet to do.
Games three and four at PNC Arena proved to be a different story. With the full support from their fans in a packed arena, the Hurricanes were able to even the series at two games a piece. Getting shut out 6-0 in game five, the Canes knew they’d have to win back to back elimination games to keep their Stanley Cup dreams alive and advance.
And advance they did, winning a thrilling double overtime game seven thanks to a Brock McGinn tip in goal, something Caps fans and commentators clearly aren’t over.
Ousting the defending champs in round one is something no one saw coming and, like most playoff series in recent memory, we’re still left with some drama and storylines carrying over into this upcoming season. From the drop of the puck in game one, it was clear Canes rookie Andrei Svechnikov and fellow countryman, Alexander Ovechkin, weren’t going to make life easy for one another.
The two Russian wingers went back and forth every shift, with tension finally boiling over in game three when the two were involved in an altercation. An altercation that unfortunately left Andre out of the line up for a handful of games.
Although “Ovi” didn’t travel to Raleigh for the final preseason game just this past weekend, it is clear that the two will continue to elevate their games when they’re matched up against one another as “Svech” enters his sophomore season.