On Thursday, Rod Brind’Amour and the Carolina Hurricanes will return to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will host the Florida Panthers at PNC Arena.
The Panthers entered the playoffs as the last Wild Card and have been on quite a run after defeating the President’s Trophy-winning Boston Bruins in the first round, followed up by a convincing series win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In Brind’Amour’s first year as head coach of the Canes, he went on a similar run that brought them to the Eastern Conference Finals where they came up against the Boston Bruins and were swept. The Bruins eventually fell to the St. Louis Blues in the Finals.
It was a big step for the rookie head coach and his Wild Card team to be four wins from the Stanley Cup Finals, but it was a step that has yet to be reached until now.
This time around, the Canes and there should be Jack Adams Award nominee are the higher seed and, on a mission, to complete their goal of winning a Stanley Cup.
With the circumstances almost reversed from 2019, Brind’Amour has a good perspective of what the mindset of the visitors is going to be when they come to Raleigh. Additionally, the voice on the other end will be familiar to Brind’Amour as it is a former coach of his, Paul Maurice.
Although it may have taken longer than expected to get back to this position, Brind’Amour has learned a lot to help him and his team’s mindset entering the series on Thursday.
The way the Bruins took care of business in 2019 will certainly be on Brind’Amour’s mind when he is coaching and game-planning for the Panthers. But this group has a chip on their shoulder as well.
After winning the division last season, the early exit at the hand of the New York Rangers is fresh on their minds and will help fuel the urgency to put the cats to sleep early and often. It is important to not give the Panthers life early on or they will thrive and bully.