PHILADELPHIA - The Carolina Hurricanes clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after game 81, and now on the last day of the regular season, their first-round opponent is set.
The Hurricanes, who finished as the first wild card seed in the Eastern Conference (46-29-7, 99 points), will face the Washington Capitals, who finished atop the Metropolitan Division (48-26-8, 104 points).
The Hurricanes went 0-3-1 against the defending Stanley Cup champions in the regular season, earning a point in a 6-5 shootout loss at home on Dec. 14.
"It's going to be a big challenge for us, the defending Stanley Cup champions," Curtis McElhinney said after the Canes' win in Philadelphia. "It will be a tough series, but I think it's something that everyone in here is excited for and looking forward to."
"It's going to be a great test for us, a great challenge. I know as a group, we're excited," Jordan Staal said. "We're excited to get going, get playing and hopefully getting some wins."
"It's going to be a great challenge. You're playing the Stanley Cup champs. It's going to be tough. We know that," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I like the way this group has responded all year to challenges. This is obviously a big one coming up."
As the lower seed, the Hurricanes will host Games 3 and 4 and a potential Game 6 in round one. The NHL will release the complete schedule for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Limited tickets remain for Canes home playoff games in the first round. You can guarantee your seat by becoming a Hurricanes Season Ticket Member.
Additional playoff details, including a full schedule, home game information, giveaways, away game watch parties and more, will be made available on Hurricanes.com in the coming days.