RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes are bringing the Lambeau Leap to their hockey rink.
Their post-victory parties have gone viral : After each win on home ice, they've skated en masse down the ice and jumped into the glass.
Consider it the latest sign that this isn't the same team that has missed the playoffs an NHL-worst nine straight years.
"Instead of the standard, everybody goes to centre ice and holds their stick up, we're trying something new," veteran winger Jordan Martinook said. "I think we had fun with it, and I think the fans liked it, so just keep an eye out on those. We might change it up, stick with that one, who knows?"
They call it the "Storm Surge," and they've already done it twice to rave reviews from the fans who stuck around after the final horn.
It debuted following Carolina's 8-5 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday night. After the buzzer sounded, the team lined up along one blue line and clapped their hands over their heads while DJ Khaled's "All I Do is Win" played over the arena's sound system.
Then they skated the length of the ice, with each player taking a playful leap into the boards as the fans cheered. Video of the celebration caught fire on social media seemingly as quickly as the players bounced off the Plexiglas.
The encore came Tuesday night after beating Vancouver 5-3, but this time, as his teammates lined up, Micheal Ferland skated to centre ice and led the claps before everyone skated down the ice and jumped into the glass.
"We looked at it, and they're fine-tuning it," first-year coach Rod Brind'Amour said, adding that Ferland "had a little issue with the beat. But again, that's something that they've created, and hopefully they enjoy it and the fans enjoy it."
New captain Justin Williams was the one who came up with the idea, Martinook said.
"Once he mentioned it, everyone was pretty excited and ready to run with it," Martinook said.
They know the celebration needs some fine tuning, and the best way to get it right it is by continuing to win — and to have a good reason to do it again.
"I think we've got to get our tempo better and in sync," rookie forward Warren Foegele deadpanned.
So far during the young season, they certainly have been in sync on the ice.
They're only a week in, but they entered Wednesday night's games with an Eastern Conference-best seven points.
Their 3-0-1 record is the franchise's best since it relocated from Hartford to North Carolina in 1997, and the last time they opened a season by earning points in four straight games was in 1994 — when they started 4-0-1 and were still known as the Whalers.
During their current three-game winning streak, they've outscored their opponents by a combined 16-9.
For a team with a young core — key players Sebastian Aho, Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov were all born after the Whalers skated for the final time in Hartford — they're determined to keep the focus on having fun and not on the pressure of trying to snap the NHL's longest post-season drought.
"It's fun, right?" Foegele said. "High-scoring games, a bunch of young guys in here keeping it young, too. The group's been good, and that's what you want to see."
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