#15: May 27, 2021- Dougie Hamilton on the Doorstep
When combing through the catalog of fantastic postseason series the Carolina Hurricanes have played, their series against Nashville in 2021 is a personal favorite of mine. Every game was intense and never was that more clear than Game 6. Down 3-2 in the series, the Predators looked to stay alive, holding a 3-1 lead more than halfway through the game. A tip-in on the power play by Sebastian Aho brought the deficit down to one goal before the end of the second period. Juuse Saros continued to deny every chance to tie things up. Time was ticking down, and a Game 7 felt imminent until a beautifully-designed set play on a face-off got them what they were looking for. Jaccob Slavin found Dougie Hamilton sneaking down from the point with a wide-open net to tie the game with 6:01 left. This meant a fourth straight overtime game, and the Canes wasted little time ending the series. Slavin was in the middle of it again, sending a wrister to the net that Aho redirected over the shoulder of Saros to clinch the series. None of this is possible without the heroics of Slavin and Hamilton, the Canes’ mighty defensive pair, late in regulation.
#14: May 14, 2009- The Villain Becomes The Hero
In 2009, no man was more hated in Boston for two weeks than Scott Walker. The story begins during Game 5. Down 4-0 late in the game, things got a little testy between Matt Cullen and former Hurricane Aaron Ward. Walker stepped into the fray, dropped his gloves, and delivered a vicious right hook to drop Ward. In a shocking twist, Walker was not suspended for the punch, escaping with a $2,500 fine. After Boston won Game 6 to force Game 7 in Beantown, the two teams battled to a 2-2 draw after 60 minutes. This night would belong to the Carolina Hurricanes and their resident villain. Tim Thomas knocked down Ray Whitney’s initial shot, but the rebound came right to Walker as he beat Thomas to the puck to win the game and the series. It’s fair to ask whether Walker should’ve been playing in this game after what he did in Game 5. Honestly, it felt suspension-worthy. Was he suspended? Nope, and we got this incredible moment because of it.