For a brief moment, Justin Williams got to breathe.
The Carolina Hurricanes had just punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at home.
The Hurricanes adopted a playoff atmosphere in order to push for the better part of the season and rhythmically climb in the Eastern Conference standings.
They had to in order to finally bring an end to a playoff drought that lasted nine long seasons, and it took a lot of out Williams and the Hurricanes.
"It's felt like every game in the last month has been win or go home. That's what it's really felt like," Williams said after game 81. "We've pushed ourselves as hard as we can."
After five games in their First Round series with the Washington Capitals, it is now win or stay home for the Hurricanes, who face a 3-2 series deficit with Game 6 coming up at PNC Arena on Monday.