• 66°

Hurricanes go for second-round sweep tonight

By Joedy McCreary

AP Sports Writer

RALEIGH (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t made the playoffs often. When they do, they stick around for a while.

This is just their fourth postseason appearance since 2002, but they reached the Eastern Conference final — at least — in each of their last three appearances and are one victory against the New York Islanders from a fourth.

“I think when you don’t make the playoffs for so long,” coach Rod Brind’Amour quipped Thursday, “you’re probably rested.”

The common denominator in those deep postseason runs has been Brind’Amour, who has climbed nearly every branch of the organization’s tree during almost two decades in Raleigh.

The first Carolina player to hoist the Stanley Cup has the Hurricanes nearly halfway toward doing it again, this time in his rookie season as their head coach. Carolina will go for a second-round sweep in Game 4 against the Islanders on Friday night (7 p.m. EDT, NBCSN).

“We didn’t have much of an identity at the start (of the season), and over the years, and really, Roddy has demanded that from the start,” veteran forward Jordan Staal said. “Our identity has got to be our work ethic, and all else kind of falls to the side.”

There aren’t many common threads through the past 17 years for the Hurricanes during their up-and-down stretch marked by a handful of peaks and several valleys — including a nine-year postseason drought that ended this year. They’ve changed owners, general managers, coaches, captains and players — lots of them.

Brind’Amour has been the constant, arriving in 2000 in a trade with Philadelphia and never leaving.

He’s played a central role in each deep postseason run. He was an alternate captain on the 2002 team that improbably reached the Cup final. He captained the team four years later that won the Cup for the only time in club history. In his final full season wearing the “C,” he led the Hurricanes to the 2009 Eastern Conference final.

After retiring, he spent some time in the front office and as an assistant coach before he took over when Bill Peters left for Calgary last summer — and led them to this: With one more victory over the Islanders, the Hurricanes will have won 11 of their last 13 playoff series — losing only to Detroit in that ‘02 final and to Pittsburgh in ‘09.

Carolina has won five straight postseason games and seven of eight since losing the first two matchups with Washington in the first round.

Neither team has led by more than one goal at any point in the series until Carolina scored two empty-net goals in the final minute of the last game.

“Everything I’ve heard about Roddy and the people that play with him and the people that worked with him, he’s a genuine, hard-working guy,” Trotz said. “That’s probably our teams. They’re a hard-working team, they get on you, they’re resilient. And these two teams have a lot of characteristics that are very similar. That’s why it’s been not a lot of goals. It’s been a grind for both teams and it will continue to be.”

Down 3-0 and facing elimination, Trotz on Thursday said he hadn’t told his team who was playing in goal, raising the possibility that he might replace Robin Lehner with Thomas Greiss.

STARS  at BLUES, series tied 2-2 (9:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN)

Blues rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington responded to a stick poke from Jamie Benn by delivering a forearm to the head of the Dallas Stars captain right as the second period ended in Game 4.

The game was effectively already over then, with the Stars up three goals and on way to a 4-2 victory to even up the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

“Sometimes the game is not going to go your way,” Binnington said. “It’s playoff hockey and stuff happens to try to change the game up a little bit and see what happens.”

Binnington sparred with Benn not long after Blues forward David Perron, who had an earlier shot ricochet off the left post, hacked Stars goalie Ben Bishop in the back behind the net. Said Bishop: “Obviously a series can get emotional.”

“I thought they lost a little bit of their emotional control but they played well in the third period and regrouped well,” Dallas rookie coach Jim Montgomery said of the Blues. “I think next game we start fresh.  I don’t think there is carryover from one game to another.  I don’t think it really exists.”

___

AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno and AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Comments

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training

Nation/World

US backs waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines

News

As demand drops, Cooper visits vaccine clinic to urge usage

News

NC lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

News

N.C. bill banning Down syndrome abortions nears floor vote

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 301st death from COVID-19

Coronavirus

N.C. lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

Local

Rowan Public Library joins initiative to help people with digital connectivity

Local

Mocksville to dissolve police department

Crime

Blotter: May 5

Local

Salisbury’s McElroy named top city, county communications professional in state

Local

Locals condemn use of force during 2019 traffic stop of Georgia woman