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Are the Hurricanes and Panthers Rivals?

Wednesday, 02.11.2009 / 10:06 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
We mentioned this briefly on Monday’s podcast, but I thought it deserved further discussion here in advance of tomorrow night’s game:

Are the Florida Panthers the Hurricanes’ biggest rival right now? If not, who is?

Paul Branecky
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Most fans might still give Buffalo that dubious honor dating back to the 2006 playoffs, and rightfully so. It was a tough seven-game series that featured a lot of back-and-forth between players and coaches in the media, not to mention fans at the games.

That dislike has lasted well past that year. It seems like Carolina and Buffalo usually play most of their games near the end of the season when a playoff spot is up for grabs, so a lot of those contests, including three yet to come in the coming months, have plenty of intensity.

Also, for what it’s worth, they’re still the only fans who email the webmaster with generic “You Suck!!” comments after they win (Seriously? The webmaster?). Strangely, nothing when they lose …

However, based on more recent events, I think that Florida has to be part of the discussion. It started two seasons ago when the Panthers accused the Hurricanes of diving, leading to several exchanges like this one:

Florida’s Bryan Allen: "He embellished it as much as he could. It's embarrassing the way they play the game. They're looking for the easy way out, taking dives and looking for the cheesy call."

Florida’s Olli Jokinen: "[Carolina] has stolen so many points from us, we have to ... make sure they don't go anywhere. I'd rather see Tampa and Atlanta make it than this team.''

Carolina’s Erik Cole: "If I'm clicking through the NHL package, I'm probably not stopping to watch a Panthers game.”

So, mutual dislike was pretty clear at that point. Then came the final game of last season, in which the Canes only needed to beat the Panthers on home ice – something they had done in every meeting dating back to 2002 - to qualify for the playoffs. Based on past events and quotes like the one above, Florida was motivated beat the Hurricanes despite having nothing else to play for.

Not only did Florida win that game, but they also lost in Washington the following day when a win would have thrown the Canes a postseason lifeline. Not that anyone on the Carolina side expected any favors.

Now, each team finds themselves in a battle to make the postseason in 2009. Both teams are playing well, and it seems like they trade hold of the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed after each game. They play two more times this season, the first being tomorrow night at the RBC Center, which will amount to four-point games in the standings.

So, the question is this: Do the Hurricanes have a rivalry with Florida, or is Buffalo still the more hated team in the eyes of Carolina fans? Could both teams be considered rivals, or perhaps neither?

Carquest

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STANDINGS

[SSS_STANDINGS.METROPOLITAN_DIVISION_LABEL]
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06
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