The Carolina Hurricanes entered the first intermission Friday night aware of their solid first-period effort while still trailing 2-0 on the scoreboard.
"We felt good about the way we were playing," Riley Nash told the press later. "There were two from the point that were lucky. Overall, we were getting chances and getting the puck deep. It just wasn't going our way early but we stuck to it."
Nash's confidence and realistic grasp on the game were clearly echoed throughout the locker room, as the 'Canes went on to rally for a rousing 5-3 win over the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks.
Friday's comeback was, remarkably, the seventh time in 30 contests that the 'Canes have rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game.
This 2013-14 Carolina team, while still just 13-12-5 where it counts, is drastically removed from their "fragile" days of last spring.
The Hurricanes rallied from two goals down in six of 48 matches in 2012-13, but were able to eventually pull out the win in only one:
|Hurricanes' Two-Goal Comebacks of 2012-13|
|Game||Down 2-0 With...||Final Score|
|Jan. 28 vs. Boston||5:11 left in 1st||3-5 Loss|
|Feb. 24 vs. NY Islanders||1:33 left in 2nd||4-2 Win|
|Mar. 7 vs. Montreal||13:54 left in 2nd||2-4 Loss|
|Mar. 28 vs. Toronto||8:32 left in 2nd||3-6 Loss|
|Apr. 19 vs. Winnipeg||9:23 left in 2nd||3-4 OT Loss|
|Apr. 27 vs. Pittsburgh||7:31 left in 2nd||3-8 Loss|
In 18 fewer games so far this campaign, the 'Canes have already exceeded last year's total of multi-goal rallies. They've also proved slightly more effective at getting points out of such performances, going 2-4-1, but there's still plenty of room for growth in that regard:
|Hurricanes' Two-Goal Comebacks of 2013-14|
|Game||Down 2-0 with...||Final Score|
|Oct. 8 vs. Pittsburgh||6:37 left in 2nd||2-5 Loss|
|Oct. 15 vs. Chicago||16:07 left in 3rd||2-3 SO Loss|
|Oct. 17 vs. Toronto||17:07 left in 3rd||3-2 Win|
|Nov. 16 vs. St. Louis||4:24 left in 2nd||2-4 Loss|
|Nov. 21 vs. Detroit||14:12 left in 2nd||3-4 Loss|
|Dec. 1 vs. Vancouver||19:22 left in 2nd||2-3 Loss|
|Dec. 6 vs. San Jose||8:25 left in 2nd||5-3 Win|
The 'Canes rank 12th in the NHL with a 2-8-2 record when trailing at the second intermission; they fell 24th in the league at 2-16-2 last year.
Moreover, only one team (Vancouver) has more wins than Carolina's six when allowing the game's first goal. The Hurricanes' .286 winning percentage in such scenarios ranks 15th.
This autumn's tenacity is a testament to captain Eric Staal's suddenly prominent never-say-die attitude and the veteran experience of summer additions Andrej Sekera, Ron Hainsey and Nathan Gerbe. Consider Carolina's top offensive producers in those seven comeback games:
|Top Scorers in Seven Comeback Games of 2013-14|
With arguably the easiest schedule in the NHL over their remaining 52 games, the 'Canes newfound persistence and patience should provide an advantage not seen since the Erik Cole-dominated clutch finishes of 2010-11.
Entering a travel-heavy but relatively easy Western road trip, Carolina has a spectacular chance to build on the positive momentum of the past week and perhaps put their rallying confidence to use yet again.