Bird is the Word in Raleigh

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Five
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Five / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The bird celebration is all the craze in Raleigh after Evgeny Kuznetsov brought the Carolina Hurricanes back from the dead in this series against the New York Rangers. Facing a 3-0 deficit in the series, the Canes are one win away from evening up this series and forcing a pivotal Game 7 back at Madison Square Garden.

It has been a difficult season for the former first-round draft choice of the Washington Capitals. In February, Kuznetsov entered the player's assistance program. After just 17 points in 43 games for the Capitals, the team placed him on waivers upon his return from the program. At the trade deadline, Don Waddell brought the 31-year-old to Raleigh to revive his once-strong career.

The Stanley Cup champion fell from grace just last week in this series where he was a healthy scratch by head coach, Rod Brind'Amour. After losing the game of the series, the Canes returned the deadline acquisition to the lineup.

The veteran helped get things started in Carolina's first victory of the season with a goal over the shoulder of Igor Shesterkin. What seemed like impossible without a deflection, Kuznetsov brought hope to the team, beating Shesterkin with a straight shot.

Kuznetsov summed up the roller coaster season back in New York for Game 5. He committed a terrible penalty earlier in the game, which the Canes PK handled, and then scored the goal in the third period to bring the Canes ahead of the Rangers for the first time in the game. Ultimately the game-winning goal, Kuzentsov's fourth goal of the playoffs was the biggest of the season.

In this playoffs, the Canes have 6 wins in 10 games played and 4 of those wins have a Kuzentsov goal in them. This is not a coincidence at all and will need to continue tomorrow night.

Not only does the Russian forward bring experience to this Carolina group, but he also brings a unique offensive skill that not many players, or teams have the luxury of having. The combination of being able to stick handle in a phone booth and sniping a shot past the best goalies in the league, Kuznetsov has ice in his veins and can be relied upon at any point in the game.

Scoring Jake Guentzel from the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline may have been the talk of the NHL but the acquisition of Kuznetsov may be the key factor in the Hurricanes making history and taking the next step toward winning a Stanley Cup.