RALEIGH, N.C. -- Kirk Muller will make his NHL coaching debut tonight, one day after replacing Paul Maurice as the Carolina head coach. He met his players before the morning skate on Tuesday, and his message to them was simple.
"We told them it's a clean slate," Muller said. "Just bring energy tonight. It's pretty hard to walk in and change all the x's and o's. I just asked them to work hard and be accountable to each other, come with some life and energy."
His counterpart, Kevin Dineen in Florida, is also a rookie NHL coach. He makes his first visit to Carolina, where he was the Carolina captain toward the end of his playing career. He expects the Hurricanes to react well to a new voice behind the bench.
"(Muller's) got a long depth of experience as an NHL assistant," Dineen said. "He's a fabulous hockey mind. His joyful enthusiasm sometimes masks his intelligence. He's such a quality person and he's going to be a very good coach for a long time."
I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.
— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round