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WEB EXCLUSIVE If you aren’t a sports fan but have suddenly found yourself watching hockey these past few days, you aren’t alone. After a long live sports hiatus, we’re all eager to watch some action happening in real time; even if we can’t be there, there’s a satisfaction in cheering for anything other than a drop in COVID cases. But if you’re just now hopping on the Hurricanes hockey train, we get that it can all be a little confusing: the rules, the terms, the fights, the “bubble.” Like we said, you aren’t alone. So we asked a pro at explaining sports, CBS-17’s Sports Team anchor Alyssa Rae, to break it all down for us before we cheer on the Carolina Hurricanes again tonight.
A quick note: Back in March, the NHL suspended its 2019-2020 regular season with 189 games remaining due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, NHL players agreed to resume playing on August 1, in the Canadian hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto where they’re living in isolated bubbles for as long as required. The NHL brought in 24 teams—12 from from its Western Conference to Edmonton and 12 from its Eastern Conference to Toronto—and the top four teams in each conference, based on their regular season records, are competing in a Round-Robin to determine their seeding for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Teams in positions five though 12 in each conference are also currently competing in a Best-of-Five Qualifying Series to determine the remainder of the playoff field, which is where you’ll find the ‘Canes (they’re No. 6 in the Eastern Conference).
Who are the Carolina Hurricanes players to watch?
If you asked what Hurricanes player to watch before Game 2 of this qualifying series, I would have said forward Andrei Svechnikov. After watching Game 2, it becomes an emphatic Andrei Svechnikov! The 20-year-old has been solid on the Hurricanes top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. But this second-year standout made a statement Monday afternoon after scoring three goals against the New York Rangers to lead his team to a 4-1 win and a commanding 2-0 lead in the Best-of-Five Eastern Conference Qualifying Series. He became the first player in Hurricanes franchise history to record a hat trick in the post season. Let’s not forget, this showing is also after a four-month hiatus.
What is a hat trick?
A hat trick is when one player scores three goals in one game. Andrei Svechnikov scored three goals in Monday’s game against the Rangers. That’s the first postseason hat trick in Hurricanes history.
Fighting in hockey games; is it staged or real?
Fighting is not staged, but sometimes it’s not necessary or even provoked. Sometimes after a hard check or a perceived dirty play, a player may retaliate by dropping his gloves. There are other times that a fight can break out just to get the team going. For example, veteran Hurricane forward Justin Williams’ fight in Game 1 of the qualifying series against the Rangers was pretty unexpected. When a guy like that starts swinging, you know it’s going to get the team juiced, and in that case, it did.
What is a Power Play?
A power play is when a team is down a player because they’re in the penalty box. It puts the team that was called for the penalty at a disadvantage because they are now a man down and becomes a 5 on 4 situation. It can become 5 on 3 if a team is called for two penalties. The Canes were called for two penalties in Game 2, and the Ranges scored their only goal when it was 5 on 3.
What’s the most common penalty called in hockey and how long do players stay in penalty box?
The most common penalties in hockey are called minor penalties. They are two-minute penalties and common types are roughing, interference, slashing, holding, tripping, etc.
What happens if the Hurricanes win the Qualifying Series?
If the Hurricanes win the qualifying series against the Rangers (which they would lock up with a win tonight), they advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This postseason is different than years past, because there will be reseeding throughout, so you can’t look ahead to see any potential opponents necessarily. After the qualifying rounds, every series becomes your standard best-of-7 series. If the ‘Canes continue to advance, they will stay in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, for the first two rounds but the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final will be held in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city.
Lots to look forward to in this postseason if the Carolina continues in this direction. Go Canes!
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins Game 5 takes place tomorrow at 4 p.m. Watch on Fox Sports Carolinas Channel 50 (Spectrum).
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