No. 1 – May 9, 2002 – Carolina 4, Montreal 3 (OT)
For all the drama associated with the Hurricanes’ run to the Cup in 2006, nothing compares to one crazy night in Montreal four years earlier, when an improbable comeback earned an unforgettable nickname and an entire series turned on a goal.
Carolina entered the third period of Game 4 at the then-Molson Centre down 3-0 and facing a 3-1 series deficit, unable to crack Vezina and Hart Trophy winner Jose Theodore. Everything was closing in on them until Canadiens coach Michel Therrien took an unsportsmanlike penalty early in the third that turned a Carolina power play into a two-man advantage and provided the spark the Canes – who had already swapped goalie Kevin Weekes for Arturs Irbe to no avail – desperately needed.
Sean Hill scored on the 5-on-3, Bates Battaglia made it 3-2 later in the third and Erik Cole scored in the final minute with Irbe pulled for an extra attacker, leaping into the boards in celebration. In overtime, Jeff O’Neill won a right-circle faceoff back to Niclas ‘The Secret Weapon’ Wallin, whose wrister beat Theodore for the first of his three career OT-winners. The Hurricanes scored as many goals in the final 23:14 as they had in the series to that point.
As cups of beer and hot dogs littered the ice, Ron Francis took shelter in the net as he retrieved the winning puck. Theodore was never the same after that, in the series – he gave up 10 goals in the next two games – or in his career. The Canes went on to the Stanley Cup final for the first time, losing to Detroit.
That game will forever be known in North Carolina as “The Miracle at Molson.”
No. 2 – June 19, 2006 – Carolina 3, Edmonton 1
The crowd stood for the entire 60 minutes as the Hurricanes clinched the Stanley Cup in Game 7. Rookie goalie Cam Ward nabbed playoff MVP honors.
No. 3 – June 8, 2002 – Detroit 3, Carolina 2 (3OT)
The ’02 cup final hinged on this Game 3 marathon that stretched late into the night. A 42-year-old Igor Larionov scored the winner for Detroit.
GREATEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME
April 12, 1986 – Hartford 9, Quebec 4
Before they moved to North Carolina, the Hartford Whalers won only one series in 17 years, and John Anderson’s six-point game sealed the deal.
Anderson had two goals and four assists as the Whalers swept the best-of-five series against Quebec with a 9-4 home win. It was a 3-2 game when Anderson got started, setting up Ray Ferraro twice and Ulf Samuelsson before banging in a pair of goals on his own, then adding an assist on Kevin Dineen’s final goal. The record still stands – no one in the Carolina era has recorded more than four points in a playoff game.