Let me start by saying that I knew I should have written this post before Sunday's game. For those not following (likely 99% of you), we lost in spectacular fashion in Boston on Sunday night. We just didn't have it together and the Bruins were on fire. They forced us to play their style of hockey, as opposed to the other way around (as it had been for the past three games). It was a heartbreaking loss. And it ended very very badly with one of our players throwing a punch. There is much MUCH debate out there on whether or not it was justified and on whether or not it could be classified as a sucker punch.
I'm not sure how I feel about it really. I think the guy kind of had it coming as he was bullying one of our smaller guys who never fights and a fellow 'Cane was just coming to his defense. On the other hand, it was embarrassing and not how I want our team to be known. To fuel the fire, our guy was automatically suspended for one game but then released to play and ordered only to pay a fine. And that has only added to the hatred the Bruins have for us. They will definitely use that hate on the ice tonight. I fear we have "poked the bear" and I'm scared. So, tonight - we march into hell. This is a must-win game for us. We win at home tonight, and we knock the B's out of the playoffs. We lose tonight, and we have to play a game 7 in Boston. I can't even imagine how brutal that place will be after what happened on Sunday.
So, with all that said, I attempt to relive the glory and the euphoria of Friday's game...
I really don't know where the Carolina Hurricanes would be were it not for our Finns. And Friday night, it was the Jussi Jokinen show. More on that in a bit. But first - it's tailgate time!
Carolinians have perfected the art of the tailgate. And for this, we take no small amount of heat from some hockey clubs in the north. They don't get it, they say. There's no tailgating in hockey, they say. Personally, I think they're just bitter they didn't think of it first. We had a pretty sweet set up. A cooler full of bevvies and a Bojangles Tailgate Pack isn't a bad way to kick off the festivities.
But after a couple of hours of hanging out in the parking lot, it was time to get down to the business at hand.
Chaaaaaaaara, Chaaaaaaaaaara, Chaaaaaaaaaara... YOU SUCK! (Seriously, I really hate that guy.)
And our co-superfans for the evening... (Candice even got a free "Caniac Mom" pin thanks to her ever-growing baby bump!)
What an amazing game... With the exception of the last part of the second period, the 'Canes had the Bruins running scared. I can't say we played a great second period, but thankfully - neither did the B's. Other than that, we freaking OWNED them.
Some Bruins fans are whining about the officiating, but I've got news for them. Here's the truth: Regardless of officiating, the Bruins did not play well enough to win that game. Period. Whine all you want, but it wouldn't have made a difference. (In all fairness, I have to say that there were also plenty of Bruins fans who recognize this and know that they were outplayed, plain and simple.)
Celebrating the 4-1 victory!
Two out of the three superstars of the game (announced at the end of each win) were Finns. First up, Tuomo Ruutu.
And finally, Jokinen, who scored the OT game winning goal in game 3. He was so stoked about the great crowd that he was clapping for us. (It was the loudest I've ever personally heard the arena. Others who were here for the Stanley Cup win back in 2006 have said that night was the only time it has been louder.)
After the party, it's the afterparty. Of course, after such an epic win, we rocked the post-game tailgate. Very-pregnant-Candice was an excellent sport and hung with the best of them.
The night finally came to a close with a trip to Char Grill. Jason attempts to correctly fill out our order ticket, despite the extraordinary amount of beer coursing through his veins.
But enough of that. Time to focus on game 6. We MUST end this tonight. Playing Hurricanes style hockey. In our house.