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PNC brings the noise after 10 years away

Scenes the Canes’ first home playoff tailgate in a decade

Carolina Hurricanes fans tailgate outside of PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., before the Canes game against the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup playoffs Monday, April 15, 2019.
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Carolina Hurricanes fans tailgate outside of PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., before the Canes game against the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup playoffs Monday, April 15, 2019.

Warren Foegele, 13 when the last playoff game was played at PNC Arena, had heard the stories about what it’s like inside the building when the games really matter. Now, he believes them.

“Crazy,” said the surprise two-goal star in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 5-0 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 3. “I’ve never been in a place like that before where I literally couldn’t hear anything. I was trying to talk to someone on the bench once, and my ears were numb. It was a pretty surreal moment.”

Washington coach Todd Reirden had talked Monday morning about how he expected the building to fuel the Hurricanes, having been on the visiting bench as a Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach for the last playoff game here, in May 2009. His fears were well founded.

Even before the emotional flashpoint of Washington star Alex Ovechkin knocking out Hurricanes rookie Andrei Svechnikov in a one-sided fight, the Hurricanes fed off the emotion of the crowd from the start. By the third period, every hit was accompanied by a wall of sound.

“You could feel that in the building, obviously an emotional game,” Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said. “When you know every hits going to get you fired up, it gets you going, maybe gives you the boost to take a couple extra strides and finish them off. But we knew we had to invest physicality, invest in their D, play in their end and play hard, and tonight we did all those things.”

Watch a time-lapse as Carolina's Warren Foegele scores one of his two goals in the Hurricanes' 5-0 victory over the Washington Capitals at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, April 15, 2019.

FERLAND EXITS Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland left the game early in the first period, and coach Rod Brind’Amour offered an exceedingly tepid description of his injury afterward.

“He had an upper body thing he said was lingering,” Brind’Amour said. “He said it affected him in Game 1 and then reaggravated it. So he came out.”

With Svechnikov undoubtedly out for Game 4 and beyond and Ferland apparently unable to play, look for the Hurricanes to make a call-up from Charlotte (AHL) before Thursday; with his skill level, Martin Necas is probably the Checkers player most capable of getting thrown into the deep end of the playoff pool.

LONG, LONG SERIES Already a Hurricanes fan favorite, Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik added another page to his legend when he speared Jordan Martinook in the groin during the second period. Martinook was doubled over in pain after he made it back to the bench; no penalty was called on the play.

“It’s the playoffs,” Martinook said. “Guys are going to sneak them in. It’s not a very good play, but it’s a long, long series.”

MATCH SCRATCH Brind’Amour said the Hurricanes got an explanation from the league for the Ferland match penalty Saturday. The NHL officially rescinded the penalty, removing the automatic suspension attached to it, and Ferland was in the lineup Monday night.

Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland disagreed with the five-minute penalty and ejection he received in the second period for his hit on Nic Dowd in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of their playoff series on April 13, 2019.

MIX AND MATCH Looking for an offensive spark, Brind’Amour put the Finns back together, with Sebastian Aho centering Teuvo Teravainen and Nino Niederreiter, and moved Svechnikov up with Staal and Justin Williams.

“If we don’t get our best players playing their best we’re not going to win,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s pretty standard across the board. We need a little more out of them obviously – that’s obvious.”

Aho, Teravainen and Staal all posted even-strength assists, but the lines went out the window when the Hurricanes were down to 10 forwards after the departures of Svechnikov and Ferland.

Carolina Hurricanes' coach Brind'Amour talks with the media following the Hurricanes' 5-0 win

TAILWINDS Greg McKegg drew back into the lineup Monday for Saku Manaelanen, who had an impact on Carolina’s first goal Saturday but didn’t play much after that because of all the special teams and the Hurricanes’ deficit. … U.S. shootout specialist T.J. Oshie did not watch the American women’s controversial shootout victory over Finland at the World Championships on Sunday. “I was playing Mario Kart,” the Capitals forward said. Former Hurricanes trainer Pete Friesen served in that role for the U.S. team. He has been a part of gold-medal teams for both the United States and Canada. … Calvin de Haan (“upper body”) practiced again Monday but remains out indefinitely.

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Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.
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