A Return to the Playoffs
Despite the defensive woes and inconsistent offense, the Carolina Hurricanes squeezed their way into a playoff berth. Their prize for a hard-fought season? A first-round matchup against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.
The first three games offered little hope for the Hurricanes as they dropped each game, getting outscored 11-1 in the process. Adding to that, Devils were outshooting the Hurricanes 89-52 during that span and the situation became much direr.
Game Four was a back-and-forth affair with each team trading goals. As regulation ended, each team had netted two goals, with Kapanen and Tanabe tallying for the Hurricanes. As overtime began, tensions ran high with the ESA crowd (I say that as someone who was there).
At the end of the night, the anxiety proved to be unwarranted. Rod Brind’Amour beat Brodeur just 46 seconds into the extra frame giving the Hurricanes much-needed life in the series.
With Game Five shifting back to New Jersey, the Hurricanes came out flying. Josef Vasicek and Sami Kapanen tallied first period goals and Jeff O’Neill picked up the game-winner in the third period. Arturs Irbe made 37 saves and Carolina was back in the series and heading home for Game Six.
Unfortunately, the sixth game was never in doubt. The Devils carried a 3-1 lead into the third period, picking up two more en route to a 5-1 victory to end the series. For the Hurricanes, the game was a dud. Their offense was never able to get any rhythm and New Jersey dominated shots to the tune of 39-15.
It was a disappointing end to a disjointed season, though it did herald the promise of better things to come.
Let’s take a look at the Hurricanes top playoff performers:
The Carolina Hurricanes had a very uneven season and were handily outclassed by the defending champs. All was not lost, however, as the areas of opportunity were clear and another playoff run, albeit short, gave the team and its fans a reason to hold out hope.
Okay, longtime Caniacs, what are your thoughts on the 2000-01 Carolina Hurricanes?