The Carolina Hurricanes were swept by the Florida Panthers in the NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals — but don’t tell that to their head coach.
Rod Brind’Amour spoke to reporters after the Hurricanes’ season came to an end, and despite what the box score says, he doesn’t want the notion to go around that his team got eliminated in pretty embarrassing fashion.
“That’s the unfortunate part of this is that we’re going to look back and everyone’s going to say you got swept and that’s not what happened,” Brind’Amour said. “I watched the game. I’m there. We’re in the game. We didn’t lose four games.”
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Referee Wes McCauley talks to Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Wednesday. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
In actual fact, they did lose four straight games — but he elaborated on his point.
“We got beat, but we were right there,” he said. “This could have went the other way. It could have been four games the other way.”
In that sense, he is certainly correct. Game 1 was the sixth-longest game in NHL history, as it was a quadruple-overtime thriller. Game 2 also ended in overtime. Game 3 was a 1-0 Panthers victory, and the fourth and final game was 4.6 seconds away from going into overtime until Matthew Tkachuk found the back of the net, giving Florida the 4-3 victory and the sweep. (Tkachuk also scored both overtime winners in the series.)
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, left, and left wing Matthew Tkachuk hold up the Prince of Wales Trophy after the Panthers won Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes in Sunrise, Fla., on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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The Hurricanes became just the seventh team in NHL history to get swept in a series and lose each game by just one goal. The last time it happened was in 2018, when the Los Angeles Kings dropped their series to the Vegas Golden Knights, who eventually lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Washington Capitals.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes looks on during the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Monday. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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The Panthers are set to appear in their first Cup Final since 1996 and await the winner of the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars’ series, which Vegas leads three games to none.