Rod Brind’Amour couldn’t suit up for the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night in Raleigh, but on the night the franchise retired his number, he still managed to inspire the Canes to an important 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
During a moving pre-game ceremony, the Hurricanes honored the captain of their only Stanley Cup championship team and perhaps the most popular player in franchise history.
Brind’Amour cited his work ethic as the biggest reason he became a success on the ice and a leader in the dressing room. “To me, [my work ethic] was the thing that was going to make me the player that I was,” he said. “At 12 or 13-years-old I started working harder than everyone else because I wanted to be better. I can always be the best at working and be in the best shape. Those are things I can control.”
Carolina goalie Cam Ward said the ceremony helped inspire his team. “It makes a difference when you can feed off the atmosphere,” Ward explained. “If that’s not playoff hockey, I don’t know what is. It had a buzz all night.”
Once the game started, the Hurricanes had to face the top rated team in the Eastern Conference. They came out quickly and got goals from Chad LaRose and Jeff Skinner just 2:25 apart early in the first period. Skinner took a hard shot to finish off a 2-on-1 break and it seemed like the Canes might skate to an easy win.
But nothing comes easy against the Flyers and nothing comes easily for the Hurricanes. Philadelphia managed to get back in the game on a shorthanded goal by Blair Betts 2:57 into the second period.
The Canes had a chance to take control of the game when Sean O’Donnell and Jody Shelley were both called for minor penalties with 2:59 left in the second period but the Flyers manage to kill the 2:00 5-on-3 to keep the deficit at one goal. For the game, the Hurricanes went a disappointing 0-for-7 with the man advantage.
With just over five minutes left in regulation time, Braydon Coburn tied the game for Philadelphia. Instead of folding, the Hurricanes fought back when Erik Cole took a pass from Jussi Jokinen and beat Flyers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky with a hard one-timer with just 3:03 left in the third period.
The crowd took to its feet for the final three minutes to salute Brind’Amour and their team which showed grit and toughness in holding on for the victory.
The win moved Carolina four points ahead of the Sabres and Thrashers in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It also pulled them to within two points of the seventh place New York Rangers who lost to the New Jersey Devils Friday.
The Canes will host the Devils Saturday night in Raleigh.
Before the game, the Hurricanes made two trades with the San Jose Sharks. They dealt defenseman Ian White to the Sharks for a second round pick in 2012 and in a separate deal, acquired defenseman Derek Joslin for future considerations.
About the Author
Written by Brad Kurtzberg
Hockey writer for more than 10 years. Has been published on Fox Sports, MSG Network, Huffington Post and Inside Hockey. Wrote the book, "Shorthanded: The Untold Story of the Seals, Hockey's Most Colorful Team" on the old California Golden Seals and is presently working on his second book.