Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal got emotional as he addressed the media following their heartbreaking loss to the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The sadness in Staal's eyes was obvious as he tried to make sense of the painful sweeping loss that the Panthers just handed them, telling reporters that it certainly didn't feel like a “four-to-nothing sweep series.”
Staal did make sure to give credit to the Panthers, however. He admitted that Florida stuck to their game plan and executed their style perfectly.
“Obviously, that's kind of their game, though. They keep you outside and keep you from getting the second chances. And they make you pay going down the other way quickly,” Staal said of the Panthers, via SportsNets. “They got guys that can score goals and make you pay at the wrong time.”
It's not only Jordan Staal who was full of emotions after the loss, though. His Carolina teammates also tried to hold back their tears after failing to even win one game and extend the series.
Lots of raw emotion in the Canes locker room. pic.twitter.com/mOsOS1dfB5
— Kate Rogerson (@KateRogersonTV) May 25, 2023
To be fair, Staal is right when he said that it didn't feel like a 4-0 series sweep at all. In Game 4 on Wednesday night, the Hurricanes fought hard and appeared to be headed to overtime after tying the game in the third period. Unfortunately for them, Matthew Tkachuk happened.
The series has been really close, with the Panthers winning by just one point in all four games in the sweep. Carolina just wasn't able to make the key stops to win, but there's no denying that they made it an interesting series.
While it's certainly disappointing to see the Hurricanes exit the Eastern Conference Finals via sweep, they can still hold their head highs with their performance.