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‘Raleigh believes in them.’ Canes fans are far from sad after Boston sweep.

The Canes’ Jordan Staal: ‘It is not easy to get where we got’

The Canes' Jordan Staal reflects on the postseason and the future after the Carolina Hurricanes were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Thursday, May 16, 2019.
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The Canes' Jordan Staal reflects on the postseason and the future after the Carolina Hurricanes were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Thursday, May 16, 2019.

Many fans could sense what was coming well before the game ended — perhaps when the Canes went down by two goals. Then by three. Then by four.

But it didn’t matter.

Every Canes fan we talked to leaving the PNC Arena Thursday night — after the Carolina Hurricanes’ magical run for the Stanley Cup ended with a four-game sweep by the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals — had nothing but love and positivity for the team and their improbable season.

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Fans cheer as a dejected Carolina Hurricanes team leaves the ice following Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday, May 16, 20019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. The Bruins won 4-0. Travis Long tlong@newsobserver.com

“I’m fine,” said Jack Tomick of Raleigh, who has been to every home playoff game this season and about 25 regular season games. “If it wasn’t Boston, I’d be completely fine.” Tomick’s parents are season ticket holders but don’t go to many games, so he and his brother attend. And he plans to be back next season — “Even more games if I can.”

Larry Jackson of Clayton echoed Tomick.

“Sad? No way,” he said. “I’m good, not disappointed at all. Did you think they’d even get this far? We’re cool.”

Jackson, a season ticket holder, has been coming to Hurricanes games for close to 20 years, he said. And he’ll absolutely be back next season.

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Canes fans give the team a standing ovation as time runs out in the third period of the Boston Bruins’ 4-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in game four of the Eastern Conference finals at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Thursday, May 16, 2019. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

Dawn Kernagis was full of love for the team as she exited the game.

Kernagis grew up in North Carolina but currently lives in Pensacola, Florida. She and her friends Olivia Jackson and Stefanie Martina, also of Pensacola, have been in town for a business trip, and Kernagis — the acknowledged “superfan” of the group — made sure they had tickets for this week’s games.

Like other fans we talked to, the women were far from sad about Thursday’s loss.

“Those guys played their hearts out,” Kernagis said. “They got way further than anyone expected them to go and we’re super proud of them.”

“I want to move here,” said Jackson, who plays hockey in Pensacola.

As they spoke, with the game already over and the teams lined up for farewell fist-bumps on the ice, the crowd continued to cheer for their Canes.

“Do you hear that?” Kernagis asked. “That makes you want to cry. It’s the whole concept of ‘believing’ and what that can do.

“Raleigh believes in them,” Kernagis said.

Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and also covers local retail.


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