Hockey's back, y'all, and it's time to drop the puck on the 2019-20 season.
Following a deep playoff run, the Carolina Hurricanes return to the ice to host the Montreal Canadiens on Opening Night.
"Excited to get going, get in the mix and play some games," said newly minted captain Jordan Staal. "You can feel the atmosphere and excitement. I'm excited about our fans and our team, doing it together and getting some wins."
"The games count for real. Now, every detail matters, and it has a consequence," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's exciting to see what we're about."
It Starts Here
As fun as last season was - and it was a lot of fun, given that it was the first time in 10 years that the Hurricanes made the playoffs, and the way they did it with a stunning second-half resurgence made it that much more enjoyable - it's time to turn the page.
"Our expectation is to win the Cup. It's what every team wants to do," Staal said. "We've got to take it one day at a time, obviously, the same old clichés, but our expectation is to win it all. We're going to do everything we can to get there."
Video: Brind'Amour: "They gave us the toughest games"
The Hurricanes held on to the core of players that delivered the team success a season ago, but a number of new faces, like Erik Haula, Ryan Dzingel, Jake Gardiner and Joel Edmundson, dot the locker room.
Now, the quest for the Cup begins anew.
"We're building for this long journey we're getting on," Brind'Amour said. "We've got a big test coming Thursday, and we're making sure we're prepared to go out and give our best."
Fleury vs. Fleury
It's a family affair, as Haydn Fleury will face off against his younger brother, Cale, who is making his NHL debut with Montreal.
"That's a dream. Two kids playing on a backyard rink in a small town," Fleury said. "It's going to be a very special day for my whole family."
Video: Fleury: "He's followed in my footsteps"
Plenty of family will be in town - Fleury's parents, his aunt and uncle and some family friends. It's a big night for the Fleury family, and a big year for Haydn.
"I've got a lot to prove this year. It's a big year," he said. "I've got to prepare myself to play a full year and be the best player I can be. It starts tomorrow night."
Sebastian Aho, now set to begin his fourth NHL season, inked a five-year extension this summer after the Hurricanes matched Montreal's offer sheet.
A year ago, Aho opened the season with a 12-game point and assist streak (4g, 13a); only Wayne Gretzky and Ken Linesman have also begun the season with an assist in each of his team's first 12 games. Aho finished his career season with a team-high 30 goals and 83 points, and he again paced the team in scoring in the postseason with 12 points (5g, 7a) in 15 playoff games.
OPENING NIGHT AT PNC ARENA
You don't want to miss out on Opening Night in Raleigh!
Here's a quick rundown of what you can expect and whren. PNC Arena parking lots are set to open at 4 p.m. A South Plaza Party officially kicks off the festivities at 5 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show begins around 6:30 p.m. with warm-ups. Shortly after that, become a part of the immersive in-game light show and help us light up the rink with the wristbands you'll find on your seats.
Former Canes goaltender Cam Ward will crank the Hurricanes warning siren prior to puck drop, and then it's game on.
WORTH A CLICK
WATCH, LISTEN & STREAM
Watch: FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports GO
Listen: 99.9 The Fan, Hurricanes app