The long awaited Hurricanes’ home opener kicked off with lines of cars trying to weasel their way into a packed PNC Arena parking lot. The sold out event caused headaches for Caniacs as they panicked to reach their seats in time for the big show. Although, the grief was happily tolerated to witness such a grand turn out (18,680 tickets sold if you’re counting).
Fans were gifted with Canes flags at the door and discounted snacks at the concessions. Goosebumps and cheers were shared amongst the crowd as the home team was introduced. Players exited the tunnel through a fog of smoke and sticks were raised to the crowd in appreciation of their support. It was simply wonderful.
The Canes won. Caniacs cried tears of joy and exchanged loving embraces. The End.
It would have been a sweeter ending to the actual story. Similar to Saturday’s game in Florida the defense struggled, Cam Ward still appeared a bit rusty, the shots on goal were lackluster, and the passing was plain awful. Carolina ultimately fell 4-1 to Tampa Bay.
The contest wasn’t without some victories. Jeff Skinner scored a power-play goal in the second period. Jordan Staal and Alex Semin had the helpers in the play that got the Canes on the scoreboard. Special teams also performed better compared to the initial game of the season.
Alas, a majority of fans quietly made their way out of the arena with a few minutes remaining. There was no celebration honking of cars and exchanged high-fives in the parking lot, just frigid temperatures to compliment icy attitudes.
So, how are fans feeling going into Thursday’s game against Buffalo?
@cardiaccanekp worried. Very worried about tomorrow’s game
— Jeff Sedor (@Ih8theriders) January 24, 2013
— Joe Kasperski (@JKKasper11) January 24, 2013
@cardiaccanekp Optimistic. There are obviously a lot of tweaks left to work out, but the Canes have all the pieces to have a good team.
— Girls Guide 2 Hockey (@GrlsHockeyGuide) January 24, 2013
Patty Jasper: I feel good. It can’t get any worse, and I saw enough glimmers in the forward lines that we are getting close to an offensive explosion. Contrary to many in Caniac Nation, I have utmost faith in Cam bouncing back. Can’t do it himself and D gotta get their stuff together. Be a wall around Cam, make smarter plays. This bunch is rusty, except those kids who played in CLT. It’s all about to turn, so I’m gonna take on Coach Kirk’s sunny demeanor and say things are about to go our way.