04.29.2009 12:45 AM ET
Jussi Jokinen said it best when asked to describe what happened in the final moments of Game 7 at the Prudential Center on Tuesday night.
"I don't have the words," he said.
That's understandable. After all, it's difficult to describe how a 3-2 deficit with 1:20 to go turned into a 4-3 victory for the Carolina Hurricanes in a remarkable, improbable win against the shell-shocked New Jersey Devils.
"I've never been involved in a series like this," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "Two overtime games, late goals … never (have I seen) a series that ended like that."
Not many have. New Jersey was literally thisclose to advancing to a second-round matchup against the Washington Capitals -- who 30 minutes earlier had knocked off the New York Rangers in another series that went the distance.
And then the roof on this beautiful structure caved in.
Jokinen finished off a phenomenal shift with linemates Sergei Samsonov and Rod Brind'Amour by one-timing Joni Pitkanen's cross-ice feed past Martin Brodeur to tie the game at 3-3 with just 1:20 to go.
OK … so we're going to overtime. It sure would have been a fitting way for this series to end.
Not so fast.
Still stunned by what had just transpired, the Devils allowed Eric Staal to gain speed in the neutral zone, where he received a perfect pass from Chad LaRose. Staal skated into the Devils' end and ripped a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Brodeur to the far side with 31.7 seconds to go.
Um, what? Did that really just happen?
It did. The capacity crowd at The Rock couldn't believe it. The Devils couldn't believe it. Even Staal couldn't believe it.
"This one will definitely stick with me for a while, only because we had plenty of opportunities to put the game away and get a two-goal lead," Devils forward John Madden said. "To have, in the matter of a minute and a half, things turn … it's unreal. Crazy."
Truth be told, it was the type of ending that a team of destiny is a part of. But Paul Maurice wasn't about to go there after one of the most dramatic wins of his life. He's not expecting more magic to occur when Round 2 against the Boston Bruins begins on Friday night in Beantown.
"It was such a great series and such a tight series," Maurice said. "I hope it doesn't feel too magical because we're a good hockey team. We were one of the best defensive hockey teams in the League in the last two and a half months. There's more than just magic that won this series. Clearly, we did it in an unusual way. But I hope there's not that sense that it will be magic that wins the next round, because that's not going to do us any good."
It will, however, take heart. And the Hurricanes showed on Tuesday night that they have plenty of it.
Other notes from Game 7:
-- Cam Ward was probably the biggest unsung hero of this series, as much of the goalie attention was on the other end of the ice, i.e. Martin Brodeur. But Jokinen scored two of the biggest goals in this series, as he notched the winner in Game 4 with 0.2 seconds left to go along with Tuesday's game-tying tally at 18:40 of the third period.
"I'm not the only hero," Jokinen said. "We had lots of guys who played their best hockey all season. I think a lot of guys made a difference. We just have to enjoy it and get ready for Boston."
-- Eric Staal admitted not many of the Devils were in a mood to talk during the tradition postgame handshakes. Hard to blame them considering how this phenomenal series concluded.
"I think a lot of them were in shock, as they should be," Staal said. "I would be if it was the other way around. It was a great series. It was a battle all the way through. It was a fight to the finish. It was one of the best series I've been a part of."
-- With his team trailing by a goal after 40 minutes, Ward stopped all 12 shots he faced in the third period, allowing Carolina to stay in the game. It was just another example of how well Ward handled himself in a duel that also involved the NHL's all-time winningest goalie.
"That's why you play 'til the final buzzer," said Ward, who made 32 saves in Game 7. "It took seven games and right down to the 59th minute. It was a tight, hard-fought series. Very entertaining. The guys never gave up and played a heck of a game."
-- Devils forward John Madden on how this Game 7 loss compared to the one against the Colorado Avalanche in the 2001 Stanley Cup Final: "It's right up there. Anytime you can get to a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and lose … you win one game and you win the Cup. This is definitely right up there. I'm not going to sit here 10 minutes after a Game 7 and compare Game 7s with you. I just don't feel up to it."
-- Brian Compton
The end is near
04.28.2009 3:00 PM ET
This has been quite a series, one that will end tonight at the Prudential Center as the New Jersey Devils host the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
One has to think the winner will be not only excited to advance to Round 2, but also because it will have the opportunity to face a different opponent.
Tonight's game marks the 10th time these teams will face each other in the last six weeks. Ten times.
After tonight, though, they won't see each other for at least six months.
"It is pretty even," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "It's pretty rare that you have these situations where you have so many games in a short period of time against the same team. We know each other and we know what to expect to from each other. It should be a great game."
Indeed it should. Both teams seemed awfully loose during the morning skate. The Devils obviously like their chances at home, while the 'Canes are coming off a pretty dominant 4-0 win in Game 6.
"We've played well," Carolina center Eric Staal said. "It's been a tight series, no question. But I think we're hitting our stride. We're playing better in the last game and the game we lost 1-0, we felt we played pretty good. You can talk all you want. We've got to do something tonight. We'll make sure that we're ready to play."
Honestly, though, how could you not be ready? It's Game 7. Like so many players said this morning, this is what you dream about when you're skating on the pond during those frigid winter months. Somebody's going to be a hero tonight and fulfill a childhood fantasy.
Who will it be?
"I know that everybody needs to show up and play tonight," said Devils forward Zach Parise, an obvious candidate. "It's not going to be easy. That's what makes it fun. That's why it's Game 7. It'll be exciting."
We asked Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour if he needs to address his team before the game. But really, what is left to say? Do players really need a reminder of what's at stake?
"I don't think you want to make too much of a big deal," he said. "We all know it's a big game in a pressure situation. I don't know there's anything you have to do different. We know how to win -- it's just a matter of going out and doing it."
Devils coach Brent Sutter agreed. He doesn't plan on making any big speech tonight, nor does Carolina bench boss Paul Maurice.
"It's a game that coaches shouldn't have to motivate their hockey team to play," Sutter said. "If you have to do that, then there's a problem. I certainly don't think I need to do that with our group, and I'm sure Paul feels the same with his group."
It's all on the players now. Sutter and Maurice can draw up plays until their hands hurt, but, ultimately, tonight's game will be decided by the ones on the ice, not behind the bench.
"Once you get in playoffs, it's a seven-game series and this one's going to Game 7," Sutter said. "As far as ourselves are concerned, we've dealt with adversity all year and we've handled it well. It's been a great series and somewhat of a series that's been all over the map. But it's been an exciting series for everyone involved. It comes down to one game. That's what exciting about sports."
Other notes from the morning skate:
-- Will this be Brendan Shanahan's final game? The veteran forward signed a deal with the Devils on Jan. 15 with hopes of winning another Stanley Cup, but a loss tonight could mean the end of the line.
"I knew somebody would ask a question like that," he said when a reporter brought the subject up. "I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about it as a game that will lead to the next round."
-- Staal had nothing but praise for teammate Ray Whitney, who led the Hurricanes in points (77) this season and has six in six games this series. It's likely the two will skate on the same line at least to start tonight's game.
"He's been very underappreciated his whole career in this League," Staal said. "He's a leadership-type guy and he comes to play in these big games. He's obviously got a ton of skill. He's a great asset to our team and makes the people around him better."
-- After a quick start that saw him score in each of the first three games of this series, Parise has been held scoreless since. However, the All-Star forward insists that frustration hasn't set in.
"I feel fine," he said. "We've gotten some good chances but they haven't gone in. I'm not gripping the stick tight at all."
-- Should the 'Canes win tonight, it would mark the first time in this series that a team was able to record back-to-back victories. Maurice is hoping the law of averages plays in his team's favor.
"We're hanging our hats on that one, aren't we?", he said.
-- Brian Compton
LaRose looks forward to Game 7
04.28.2009 1:30 p.m.
Chad LaRose isn't phased one bit by the sudden media hoard congregating by his stall in recent days. This stuff will happen when you're suddenly thrown into the spotlight alongside one of the League's most dynamic performers in Eric Staal. LaRose was inserted on the top line late in Game 5 and for the start of Game 6.
The trio accounted for three of the team's four goals in Game 6. LaRose provided some speed and quickness along the wall for Staal and fellow linemate Ray Whitney on the way to a 4-0 victory to even this best-of-7 series, 3-3. Now, he's just hoping to continue the trend on Tuesday in Game 7 at Prudential Center.
For LaRose, it'll be the third Game 7 of his four-season career.
"I'm sure (New Jersey) will be looking to match up, but that's all based on Staal," LaRose said. "But, really, we're just worried about ourselves and our team right now. Staal is so big and has such a good reach and he's fast and controls a lot of pucks and doesn't lose a lot of battles down there. I'm just looking to feed him pucks."
--Mike G. Morreale
Langenbrunner anticipates strong effort
04.28.2009 1:20 p.m.
Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner expects a much better effort in the seventh and deciding game on Tuesday following a dismal showing on Sunday in Game 6.
"Carolina played well and Staal is a very talented player and you try to contain him and keep him off the score sheet as much as possible but those great players are going to score eventually and he played a desperate game (on Sunday)," Langenbrunner said. "When you play with that type of attitude and have his type of skill, good things will happen."
Langenbrunner is 3-1 in four career Game 7's in 11 seasons, notching 3 goals and 4 points in those contests. He knows getting that last line change will only benefit his team against Staal.
"It will definitely help (having the last line change)," Langenbrunner said. "I think more importantly for us, we need to have that same attitude that they had in Game 6. I don't doubt that we will. We feel we can have guys that play against (Staal), but it's just a matter of playing with that same attitude."
--Mike G. Morreale
Give Ward some props
04.27.2009 12:17 AM ET
When it comes to comparing goaltenders in this first-round matchup, Martin Brodeur is going to get the edge every time against Cam Ward, and rightfully so.
Brodeur is the veteran, while Ward is finishing his third full season in the National Hockey League. Brodeur has three Stanley Cup rings, compared to Ward's one.
But it's time to give Carolina's No. 30 some credit. He's played awfully well in this series -- so much so that he responded to Brodeur's shutout win in Game 5 by pitching one of his own in Sunday's 4-0 win at RBC Center.
Even though the Hurricanes played well in a 1-0 loss at New Jersey last Thursday, it was Ward who gave his team an opportunity to at least attempt to tie the game. Obviously, that never happened.
In Game 6, though, his teammates repaid him for that sensational effort by playing a sound defensive game throughout. Carolina held the Devils to just four shots on goal in the opening period and 28 overall. Ward faced 42 shots in Game 5.
But of those aforementioned 70 shots, Ward has stopped 69 of them. The Hurricanes are still alive in this series and have a chance to advance on Tuesday night mainly because of how their goaltender has performed.
"I think that's because he's Martin Brodeur and he's had such a successful, long career and won a few Cups," Carolina center Eric Staal said when asked why it's Brodeur who gets all of the attention. "Cam's making his mark. He's still a younger guy. There's no question he's up there with the elite goaltenders in the League and he's showing that in this series. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a big game Tuesday. I know he's probably looking forward to it already, and I know that everybody in here is, too."
Including Ward. What a moment it would be for him on Tuesday, if he could find a way to beat Brodeur in a Game 7 in Brodeur's building. Three years ago, Ward and his teammates needed just five games to oust Brodeur's Devils from the postseason.
This time, though, it's going the distance. And he's excited, evidenced by his shutout win in Game 6.
"It doesn't matter to me, as long as we win hockey games," Ward said of the lack of attention he's received in this series. "(Brodeur's) played well. This game could have been wide open if he wasn't as sharp in the first period. We're going to have to be much the same. We've gained some opportunities, we've just got to capitalize.
"He's been real solid. He's been the rock that we need," Staal added. "Obviously he's got to be ready for Game 7. It's going to be a battle. We've got to make sure that we're jumping and on the same attack that we were today."
Other notes from Game 6:
-- Jamie Langenbrunner returned to New Jersey's lineup, recording two shots on goal in 16:26. Langenbrunner was obviously disappointed with the outcome, but happy to be back on the ice after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury.
"It was good … just not the way I envisioned it," Langenbrunner said. "But we've got another game and another opportunity. We obviously saw how desperate and how hard they're going to play, and we know we have to bring that same type of intensity to our game."
-- Devils coach Brent Sutter gave Langenbrunner some extra ice time in the third period to help him shake off some rust. The hope is that Langenbrunner and linemates Zach Parise and Travis Zajac will be more in sync in Tuesday's do-or-die showdown at The Rock.
"It's Jamie's first game back," Sutter said. "He's been out for a week. I thought at times that line looked in sync, and at times they tried to do too much and tried to force things and got themselves in trouble a little bit because of it. I thought he got better as the game went on. That's why I played him so much, to try to get him back in the flow of things."
-- Staal was adamant the past couple of days about how the Hurricanes needed to stick to the game plan following a frustrating 1-0 loss in Game 5 -- a game Carolina played well enough to win. The Hurricanes did that on Sunday night right from the get-go, as they outshot New Jersey 15-4 in the opening period. Staal set up Ray Whitney's game-opening goal midway through the first and added a pair of tallies himself in the second.
On Tuesday, Staal's hoping to produce more of the same.
"We've got to do the same things we did coming into this game," he said. "We did like the way we played in Jersey (in Game 5), and we lost 1-0. We generated a lot and we were on the attack and it didn't fall for us. It's nice to make sure that we were on the attack again and doing the same things. If we keep playing that style of game, we'll be alright. We've got to be ready and leave this one here."
-- New Jersey was awarded just two power plays in Game 6, and failed to record a shot on either one of them. Obviously, Sutter was none too pleased with the way his team operated on the man advantage.
"Our power play was brutal," he said. "We didn't get a shot on net in two power plays. But that's a reflection of the way the whole game was. There was no sense of urgency."
Sutter praised Ward in the morning for how he's developed following their time together at the junior level in Red Deer. After Sunday's game, Ward returned the favor when asked if it would be awkward having to face his former coach in a Game 7.
"I can't say enough about Brent. He's a big part of why I'm here today," Ward said. "He gave me the opportunity to play and he's a big reason why I'm here. I've got a lot of respect for him over there. But our focus is what we've got to do on the ice and be ready."
-- Whitney picked a heck of a time to enjoy his best game of the series. The veteran forward had three points and played extremely well skating alongside Staal and Chad LaRose.
"It was fun playing with him," Whitney said. "To get off to a good start like that was important. We'll take it. It was important for us to get going. We just continued to skate hard and play a speed game. As the game wore on, we got better."
-- Brian Compton
'Canes, Devils make changes
04.26.2009 07:10 PM ET
As expected, defenseman Anton Babchuk is back in the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup tonight after being a healthy scratch for Game 5. Frantisek Kaberle will not play.
Sergei Samsonov is also on the ice participating in warm-ups and looks just fine. Samsonov did not play in Game 5 due to a lower-body injury. Dwight Helminen is also on the ice but will not play if Samsonov is cleared for action, which is likely.
Bobby Holik will be a healthy scratch for the New Jersey Devils, who have captain Jamie Langenbrunner in uniform tonight. Langenbrunner missed the past three games after suffering a lower-body injury in Game 2.
On a side note, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur ties Ken Daneyko for the most postseason appearances (175) in franchise history.
-- Brian Compton
04.26.2009 02:25 PM ET
They were hootin' and hollerin' on the ice at the RBC Center this morning, a clear indication that the Carolina Hurricanes are relaxed heading into tonight's do-or-die game against the New Jersey Devils.
Certainly, there a number of players in the Hurricanes' dressing room who have been here before. A Carolina win tonight would put the Devils in the same exact situation. A win tonight means both teams' seasons would be on the line on Tuesday.
But first things first.
"It's no secret … our backs are up against the wall right now," Carolina goalie Cam Ward said. "We're facing elimination. I think it's just a point where you come in and you enjoy the game tonight. You don't want to come to the rink uptight. Nothing but positive thoughts today."
The players' approach on Sunday morning certainly pleased Paul Maurice. The Hurricanes' coach said on Saturday that he was hoping to see guys excited about the opportunity presented to them. It appears as if he's gotten his wish.
"I'll say excited, you say loose," Maurice said. "There's an important element of excitement in a possibility or an opportunity and you don't want to see that tightness and that concern about the situation we're in. I would say we were excited."
As for the game plan, don't expect Carolina to change much. And why should it? Sure, they lost Game 5, but it wasn't because of lack of effort. Martin Brodeur was forced to make 44 saves in the 1-0 decision at the Prudential Center.
"Same mentality … just go to the net and shoot pucks from everywhere," 'Canes center Eric Staal said. "We've got to get those tips and screens and hopefully tonight, a couple of those tips and screens will go by him instead of hitting him. Same mentality and we'll be alright here at home.
"Guys are excited … it's a big game. Our backs are against the wall. We've got to get it done in our building. We've got nothing to save it for. You can't go out there tense. We were sharp this morning. It's going to be a lot of fun."
It should be a lot of fun to watch, too.
Other notes from the morning skate:
-- Staal will start the game centering Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole, but if that line doesn't generate chances quickly, expect Maurice to shake things up a bit. It's not out of the question that Staal will skate with Ray Whitney and Chad LaRose at some point during the game.
"We won't have a whole lot of time to have something special happen. We'll move him around if we need to," Maurice said of Staal. "I think he's played with everybody, so there won't be any brand new combinations."
-- Maurice was very pleased the condition of the ice despite the 90-plus degree temperatures outside the rink. Devils forward Zach Parise, on the other hand, well …
"Brutal. Terrible. That's how it's been every pre-game skate," Parise said. "They do a good job of getting it ready for the game. But this morning, it was gross. It'll be good for the game."
-- Sutter and Ward have a special bond dating back to their days together at the junior level with the Red Deer Rebels. Sutter gushed this morning about how Ward has matured, both as a player and a person.
"When you've had success with players and at that level you watch them grow, you're always very close to those players," Sutter said. "There's quite a few of them in the League today, and some of them are almost like your sons. That's the attachment you get to them when you work with them at the junior level.
"At the end of the day, when you're at that level and those kids are coming to you, basically when their parents drop them off you become their guardians. It's your responsibility to make sure things are done the right way. You do have an attachment with these guys, and Cam's certainly one of them."
-- Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador skated this morning but will not play tonight. Andy Greene, who set up the only goal in Game 5, will remain in the lineup. Sutter didn't say, but expect Bobby Holik to sit following the return of captain Jamie Langenbrunner.
"This was his first true day on the ice, but I liked the way our six guys played the other night and there's no need to make a change right now," Sutter said of Salvador, who suffered a lower-body injury in Game 4.
-- Parise's thoughts on whether the crowd here will be louder tonight than it was in Games 3 and 4: "Probably. It's a great atmosphere here. They're out here tailgating a couple of hours before the game, it's great. It's fun to play in. But hopefully we don't give them too much to cheer about."
-- Ruutu has been held to just one assist in this series after scoring 26 goals during the regular season. The rugged forward believes his team needs to do a better job tonight of creating traffic in front of Brodeur.
"It's not just about goaltending, it's about us as well," he said. "Last game, we had lots of shots but I think if we need to get right in front of Marty to be more successful. Sometimes I thought we were on the side, and that makes a difference. If we can do that, we'll score some goals."
-- Brian Compton
'Canes: Game plan won't change
04.25.2009 1:10 PM ET
Welcome back to the RBC Center, where the Carolina Hurricanes received some news that they swear won't change their approach for Game 6 on Sunday night.
The New York Post reported today that captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, will return to the New Jersey Devils' lineup tomorrow night to help his teammates try to clinch this first-round series. Langenbrunner and the Devils are slated to arrive here later in the day after practicing this morning in Newark.
Should Langenbrunner play, he'll be placed back on the top line with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac. Langenbrunner, had 29 goals during the regular season, was replaced by veteran Bobby Holik in the lineup. Brian Rolston took Langenbrunner's spot on the top line.
"It doesn't change their lineup a whole lot," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "One guy's going in, one guy's coming out. They're not going to reconfigure four lines because a guy's coming back. I don't think it changes much for anybody. We're too far down the road where we are who we are. We're not changing that today."
Carolina forward Ray Whitney agreed and believes Rolston filled in admirably for Langenbrunner alongside Zajac and Parise. Rolston made a nice play behind the net in Game 3, which led to a goal by Parise.
"That line has been just as dominant with Brian there as well as Jamie," Whitney said. "Obviously, that's a line we have to pay attention to, regardless of who's on the right wing. I think there's a little more continuity with him there just from playing together for so long, but Rolston did a good job filling in there.
"He's a very good player and he's a big part of that Zajac line. That just gives them a little extra depth at a skill position."
Other notes from Carolina's skate:
-- Forwards Sergei Samsonov and Matt Cullen did not practice. Samsonov (lower-body injury) did not play in Game 5, while Cullen, according to Maurice, was just getting some extra rest. It sounds as if Samsonov will be a game-time decision tomorrow.
"Sammy felt good today, but we won't know until tomorrow," Maurice said. "Cullie's playing."
-- It's no secret the Hurricanes played well enough to win Game 5, if not for the heroic performance by Martin Brodeur. Truth be told, Carolina doesn't have a reason to change much heading into Game 6.
"We had some traffic there. We got 44 shots," Maurice said. "I think offensively the last two games are where we want to play.
"That is the great and frustrating part of our game. It's what makes you cheer and what makes you pull your hair out."
-- 'Canes forward Erik Cole, on whether he felt the team was relaxed during today's practice:
"I don't know that everybody's relaxed," he said. "I think that today was a good work day for us to go out and do some things that everyone can carry over into the game and get all the crap out of our legs, basically."
-- One last interesting note: Since 2000, there has been only one playoff series in which the teams alternated wins for all seven games. That came in 2004, when the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Philadelphia Flyers en route to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004.
-- Brian Compton
Calm before the storm
04.24.2009 7:09 PM ET
Today has unquestionably been the quietest day thus far in this best-of-seven series between the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils.
The 'Canes returned home following Thursday's disappointing/frustrating 1-0 loss at the Prudential Center, while the Devils will spend one more night at home before heading south tomorrow.
With two days off between games this time, both teams have time to think about what lies ahead. The Hurricanes enter Sunday's showdown at the RBC Center with their season on the line. They have Martin Brodeur to thank for that, as the future Hall of Famer stopped all 44 shots he faced.
Meanwhile, the Devils have a tremendous opportunity to avoid a seventh game and end this highly-entertaining series -- one that has seen two overtimes, another that ended in the final second of regulation and a 1-0 game that featured a combined 86 shots. Other than Game 1 -- a 4-1 win by New Jersey -- one could make the case that this has been the best first-round matchup in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It's actually what I thought it would be," Devils coach Brent Sutter said of the series. "It's been a real close and hard-fought series. Both teams have played it very well at times and the intensity and emotion has been high in all games, probably outside the first game. We knew that wasn't Carolina and that wasn't how they were going to play. This is no surprise to me at all. Both teams match up very well."
Indeed they do. That's why the Hurricanes aren't lacking confidence heading into Game 6. Carolina threw everything but the kitchen sink at Brodeur on Thursday night and played well enough to win. The feeling down south is basically if the 'Canes keep shooting, they're going to get a bounce or two.
"I think it keeps the confidence in the room," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "It's been very, very close and very tight all the way through. Everybody knows what to expect."
What should we expect? Well, probably yet another incredibly-close game featuring phenomenal saves and breathtaking scoring chances. Maybe this time, Cam Ward won't come out on the short end of a goalie duel. Ward certainly deserves to be commended for the display he put on in Game 5.
"I think shot-for-shot, it could have gone either way," Ward said. "I think you look at the last two periods, we had 35-plus shots on them. Who knows if maybe we had a better first period? But you learn from it. To be successful, you've got to be able to put games behind you. As tough as that one was, it's over and done with and we get ready for the next one."
As for New Jersey, Brodeur's lone concern on Friday was the number of shots generated by the Hurricanes over the past two games. Carolina peppered Brodeur with 46 shots in Game 4 and followed that up with 44 on Thursday.
A little help here?
"Sometimes, the shot clock doesn't really tell the story," Brodeur said. "But I think it's a concern when you allow 19 shots in one period. You have to be somewhat careful. They shoot the puck a lot. We should play a little more tight. But we're getting out chances, so that's good."
Their biggest chance comes Sunday in the form of advancing to the second round. The Devils don't intend to let it slip away.
"We know their level of desperation is going to be the highest it's ever going to be," Sutter said. "We have to match that. You prepare like you need to finish it. That's got to be our sense of urgency."
Other notes from Friday:
-- Devils forward Zach Parise was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy. Parise had 45 goals during the regular season and just 24 penalty minutes.
The award is given to the player who best couples gentlemanly conduct on the ice with a high level of skill.
It's a tremendous honor, no doubt, but Brodeur said that No. 9 can expect some verbal jabs from teammates when the Devils reunite on Saturday morning.
"I'm sure there will be," Brodeur chuckled. "Nicest player ... is that what it is? I didn't know about it, but I think it's pretty good. He's having a great year and he's a gentleman. He plays the game with dignity and doesn't cut corners. He plays the game hard, but he plays it fair."
Parise told reporters he found out about the honor while surfing the Internet.
"I was surprised," he said. "It wasn't something that I was expecting. Of course, it's an honor. There's been some great players who have won this award. It was a great feeling when I found out."
-- Sergei Samsonov (lower-body injury) did not play in Game 5 but could return to the lineup on Sunday. Dwight Helminen made his postseason debut in Samsonov's stead.
"It's not so serious that it's out of the realm, but a lot of it is just going to be how he feels," Maurice said. "He's a pretty tough lad. He's played with some things before. We didn't want to put him in a situation where by playing he would play in Game 6. We're hopeful."
-- D Bryce Salvador (lower-body injury) may be able to return to the lineup on Sunday, but it's not a certainty that he will after the way Andy Greene performed in Thursday's win. Greene set up the game's lone goal by David Clarkson and was effective in the Devils' end, too.
"Greenie went in and played extremely well last night," Sutter said today. "We'll have to make that decision if Bryce is ready whether he goes back in the lineup or not. I thought our defense was very solid last night."
As for captain Jamie Langenbrunner (lower-body injury), it's highly unlikely he'll return to the lineup on Sunday. But it wasn't completely ruled out, either.
"Jamie's situation is no different than Bryce," Sutter said. "If there was a game today, neither would be playing. We just have to take it day to day and see what happens.
-- Both teams have struggled mightily on the power play in this series, but the lone goal in Game 5 came after Patrick Eaves was whistled for tripping midway through the second period. While the Devils finished 1-for-5 on the man advantage, Patrik Elias liked what he saw.
"We were just moving all over the place," Elias said. "We got a lot of shots and getting second opportunities. We didn't have one or two set plays. We were all over the zone and just reacting and playing hockey."
-- 'Canes captain Rod Brind'Amour on why his team feels good about its chances in Game 6 on home ice: "It'd be one thing if we didn't think we could win and they were all over us, but it's not like that. We all feel it. It really just comes down to giving it all you've got. Cam's been great and he's kept us in the games. If he does that again we have a chance to win. He's done his job, and that's all you can ask of him."
-- Brian Compton
What a game
04.24.2009 2:58 AM ET
Anyone under the impression that a 1-0 game can't be excited, I sure hope you tuned in to Thursday night's showdown at the Prudential Center.
For 60 minutes, Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward went toe-to-toe -- and almost save-for-save, if not for David Clarkson's remarkable redirection of Andy Greene's shot in the second period.
When the final horn sounded, the New Jersey Devils grabbed a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven behind a truly remarkable performance by Brodeur. The future Hall of Famer made 44 saves in Game 5, leading his team to a 1-0 win.
"I like the 2, 3-0 better actually," Brodeur said with a smile as wide as the Hudson River. "It makes it tough a little bit at the end, because you know one lucky bounce and anything can happen. It keeps you in the game and you can't fall asleep at all."
Nobody in the capacity crowd at The Rock fell asleep during this one. There too many intense moments, too many phenomenal scoring chances, too many breathtaking saves on both ends of the ice.
The only downfall was someone had to lose. Ward was sensational in defeat, as he finished with 41 saves and kept his team in the game in the third period -- at least allowing the Hurricanes an opportunity to score that tying goal.
But Brodeur wouldn't allow it to happen.
"You guys watched it … that's why he's the best," said Clarkson, who has a pair of goals in this series. "He kept us in the game. Between him and our defensive game tonight, that's the reason we won the game -- the combination of us playing our system and guys doing their jobs."
John Madden was one of many who did his job in this one. The defensive specialist made one of two great plays by the Devils in the final seconds -- Brendan Shanahan was responsible for the other -- helping Brodeur keep the shutout and victory intact.
Without question, it wasn't the first time Madden was asked about a scintillating Brodeur performance during a postgame media scrum.
"I know Marty played well tonight, but I didn't have the opportunity to sit back and watch the game like you guys did and see all those saves," he said. "I'll take your word for it. I know he played well. I'd be lying if I said I saw every save."
Fair enough. Maybe some day in the near future -- or somewhere down the road -- Madden will pop in a DVD, sit on his couch and enjoy what was truly a phenomenal goalie duel.
The Hurricanes were certainly gracious in defeat. Was Paul Maurice happy about returning to Raleigh for a do-or-die game? Of course not. But he did appreciate what took place in Newark on Thursday night.
"It was just a great game," he said. "You had great goaltending. We had over 70 shot attempts in that game. It was exciting. I think if you took all the video of all the chances for both teams, you'd think this had been 7-6. Some pretty fine saves made at both ends. It was an evenly played game."
If there's a positive to take away from Game 5 for the Hurricanes, it's this -- they played awfully well. They went into the opponent's building and peppered the League's all-time winningest goaltender all night long. Truth be told, the 'Canes really can't play much better than they did on Thursday. They simply didn't get a bounce or a break like the one the Devils got on Clarkson's redirection.
But Eric Staal says they have to be better.
"I thought we played real well," Staal said. "We were in the pucks, we cycled the puck well, we had some point-blank chances. It didn't fall. It's frustrating, but you can't do anything about it right now. He was good tonight. That's the way it goes. We're just going to have to be better Sunday and put a couple in the back of the net and go from there."
Ward believes one way to get that done is to enter the RBC Center with a fearless approach. The 'Canes be afraid of being stoned by Brodeur again. They need to remember it was only a few nights ago when they beat No. 30 four times on their sheet of ice.
"There was a lot of opportunities both ways, shot for shot," Ward said. "Marty made the saves. We just have to find a way. We're down 3-2 here and we have our backs against the wall. We have to win Sunday and we have to be excited to come to the rink. We can't be scared."
Other notes from Game 5:
-- Greene did a tremendous job of filling in for injured defenseman Bryce Salvador. Greene, who appeared in 49 games during the regular season, fired the shot from the point that led to Clarkson's deflection. Greene received 14:26 of ice time and had five shots on goal.
"It was good to be out there and get some pucks to the net. It feels good to get a 'W' tonight and to be a part of it. It's a good team win. Marty played awesome as always."
Brodeur returned the compliments.
"Andy's played well," Brodeur said of Greene. "I think the numbers weren't on his side for the playoffs, but with an injury he got himself in the lineup. He looked great. He was moving the puck well. He took a lot of shots on net and wasn't scared to tee it up back there."
-- Clarkson's goal was just the second power-play tally for New Jersey in 20 chances in this series. The bruising forward did a great job of getting to the net and an even better job of managing to get his stick on Greene's blast.
"I didn't know it was in right away until everyone started jumping around," Clarkson said. "It was just one of those plays where I'm on the power play and I'm standing in front of the net and getting a stick on it."
-- Devils coach Brent Sutter told reporters after the morning skate that New Jersey put the loss in Game 4 the second the team left the RBC Center on Tuesday night. Apparently, though, the talk didn't stop there.
"It's not like we get on the plane ride and don't talk," Devils defenseman Colin White said. "We're always are talking to each other. Throughout the team, it was just kind of 'let it go.' There's no time for negativity in the playoffs. You've got to be positive and keep a good thing going."
White was asked if it's a confidence booster that the Devils have already won a game in Carolina in this series. Not exactly.
"That doesn't mean nothing," he said. "It's a new day, a new game."
-- Carolina forward Tuomo Ruutu was pleased with how the team responded after Clarkson had given the Devils the lead. While the 'Canes failed to notch the equalizer, they controlled the play for the remainder of the second and chunks of the third, too.
"We want to go after them … that's the way we play," he said. "In the third period, we're going after them. We got a lot of chances, but it was a one-goal game and they were one goal better."
-- Brian Compton
04.23.2009 7:27 PM ET
It has just been announced that Dwight Helminen will make his NHL postseason debut tonight.
Helminen -- a healthy scratch for the first four games -- had a goal and an assist in 23 games for the Hurricanes this season. He spent the majority of the campaign with the Albany River Rats in the American Hockey League, tallying 15 goals and 15 assists in 54 games.
-- Brian Compton
Who will it be?
04.23.2009 7:05 PM ET
Both Tim Conboy and Dwight Helminen are participating in warm-ups, which means coach Paul Maurice will wait until the last minute to decide who will take Sergei Samsonov's spot in the lineup for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Unless he already has and doesn't want anybody to know -- especially Devils coach Brent Sutter.
Conboy dressed for Game 1 but hasn't played since. Helminen has yet to play in this series.
-- Brian Compton
Samsonov, Babchuk out
04.23.2009 6:49 PM ET
99.9 The Fan in Raleigh is reporting that LW Sergei Samsonov and D Anton Babchuk will not be in the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup tonight.
Samsonov is out with a lower-body injury, while Babchuk is a healthy scratch, Frantisek Kaberle will take Babchuk's place, while Samsonov's spot will be filled by either Dwight Helminen or Tim Conboy.
-- Brian Compton
04.23.2009 2:25 PM ET
When he got on the bus to head back to New Jersey, Devils coach Brent Sutter told his team to forget about what transpired in the final 0.2 seconds of Game 4.
Carolina coach Paul Maurice did the same thing.
Really, nobody has a choice. The Devils know that if they dwell on it, the chances of them winning tonight's Game 5 at the Prudential Center are pretty slim. On the flip side, the Hurricanes know they can't expect New Jersey to be down, considering the Devils did reacquire home-ice advantage by winning in Carolina in Game 3.
"When we walked out of the rink in Carolina, it was over," Sutter said. "Since we got on the bus that night, we were a focused group on this next game, and that's the way it has to be in playoffs. It's been a very good series and an interesting series. A lot of strange things have happened. Both teams have had their moments of playing extremely well and both teams have had their moments where they haven't played as well as you'd like them to play. But it's been a heck of a series. (But) when that game was over, it was over. Our focus was starting to get ready for Game 5."
"We did, too," Maurice said when told the Devils forgot about Game 4. "That's the challenge here. Each team that's lost a game has come back with the determination and the fight to play very well the next night. We hopefully enjoyed that for a few hours and left it there."
Martin Brodeur -- who made 42 saves in the loss and allowed his team to rally from a 3-0 deficit -- admitted it took a little bit of time on Tuesday night to move on. Brodeur was bumped by 'Canes forward Jussi Jokinen moments before the latter redirected Dennis Seidenberg's shot into the net with 0.2 seconds left in regulation.
"It took me a while … a half hour or so," Brodeur said this morning. "After that, everything goes down and you have to go back to work. That's what hockey's all about. You go through adversities and you have to overcome them to a certain extent. It's no different what happened last game.
"The locker room was pretty bummed out early. After a little while, guys starting talking to each other and we felt that we did some things pretty good. We came back from a big deficit and showed Carolina what we're all about. It's playoffs and it's all about wins and losses, but if you lose a game at least we made a statement that we'll never die and we're going to work to the end. We have to feed off how well we played in the later part of that game."
Carolina certainly took some positives out of Tuesday night. Not only did the Hurricanes even the series, but they also finally grabbed a lead in regulation when Eric Staal scored at 7:44 of the opening period. Still, they're fully aware that's time to focus on the task at hand -- taking a 3-2 lead back to RBC Center, where Game 6 will be played on Sunday.
"You can't really go into a game expecting that momentum from last game is going to get you motivated," Carolina forward Erik Cole said. "Every game has it's own battle and it's own situations. We have to be able to have a short memory and cut things off from one day to the next."
Jokinen, who is responsible for this series being tied, agreed.
"It's just one game. It's 2-2 right now," he said. "We just have to take all the good things from that game and try to do the same things tonight. We did some bad things in the third period, so we have to just learn from those things. It's only one game and it's behind us now."
Other notes from this morning:
-- Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner (lower-body injury) did not skate and will not play tonight. Once again, veteran Brian Rolston will skate on the top line with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac. Sutter did not rule out a Langenbrunner return before this series concludes.
"There's always that possibility," Sutter said. "Everything's obviously status quo and day-to-day, that's what it is right now. He definitely won't be playing tonight."
Devils defenseman Paul Martin -- who was on the ice for nearly a half-hour in Game 4 -- hopes to see the captain back shortly.
"You've got to move forward … that's the way playoffs are," Martin said. "There's going to be guys in and out of the lineup. You do the best you can with who you have in. Obviously, we'd love to have him in there. He's a big piece of the puzzle, but he's getting better. Hopefully we get him back here soon."
-- For some members of both clubs, Jokinen's game-winner was a reminder of that wild Game 2 that New Jersey and Carolina played in a second-round matchup back in 2006. Scott Gomez broke a 1-1 tie at 19:39 of the third period, only to have Staal even the score at 19:57. Niclas Wallin won the game for the Hurricanes early in overtime.
"Maybe a little bit just because of the time," Staal said when asked if Tuesday's win reminded him of that night. "Mine wasn't the winner, but it definitely built momentum. It was a big goal. You never want to squander a lead like that, but we played hard. It was nice to get rewarded at the end."
I asked Parise if he had ever been a part of a tougher loss than Tuesday night. The 45-goal scorer immediately brought up 2006.
"I remember my rookie year when we played them, it was 1-1 with 30 seconds left and we scored and they scored with five seconds left to tie it, and then they scored in overtime," Parise recalled. "That was worse. Whether you lose the game with 10 minutes left or you lose with .2, you lost the game. We'll get back at it tonight."
-- It's been a painful year for Jokinen, who lost his father less than two months ago. At least Tuesday night provided him a huge reason to smile.
"It was great emotion. It's a great series," said Jokinen, who missed a week of action in March so he could return to his native Finland. "It's been a tough year for me. To be able to come through it and help the team like that, it's a great feeling."
-- Ryan Bayda has provided the Hurricanes with a huge boost on the team's fourth line. Skating alongside Jokinen and Scott Walker, Bayda has a pair of goals in this series. Not bad for someone who was a healthy scratch in Game 1.
"Anytime you're not in the lineup, you're usually not happy about it," he said. "But there's a reason you're not out there. I just came in for Game 2 and wanted to prove that I could play. Once you come in, you don't want to come out."
Maurice has been awfully pleased with Bayda's play.
"The players that play in third- and fourth-line roles are the difference in series and the difference in the way the game's played," Maurice said. "I think they adhere to the system probably more frequently than anybody else because their skill level doesn't allow them to deviate. They're easy to keep on task and they do simple things over and over again. Ryan Bayda's a very smart player and a real determined hockey man."
-- When Sutter broke into the NHL with the New York Islanders in 1981, the first-round of the playoffs was a best-of-five series. Games were frequently played back-to-back.
Obviously, things are different now. Playoff games are never played on consecutive days and the first round, like the ones that follow, are a best-of-7. And Sutter doesn't mind one bit.
"You guys have changed that," Sutter said the days off between games. "It's all about TV now, and rightly so. I'm not being disrespectful, it's the truth. At the same time, I think it's important to have a day between games. Back when I played, it was four games in five nights. The first round was a best-of-5, not a best-of-7. I wasn't gray and I had hair then. Times have changed."
-- Brian Compton
What a finish
04.22.2009 1:58 AM ET
It's hard to imagine a game ending in regulation being more dramatic in overtime, but the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey found a way to do it on Tuesday night when Jussi Jokinen broke a 3-3 tie with 0.2 seconds remaining at the RBC Center.
With that, the series is tied and has become a best-of-three. Game 5 will be played on Thursday in New Jersey.
For Jokinen, he likely thought it would be his final shift of regulation with the game supposedly destined to reach overtime again. The previous two games of this series didn't end after three periods.
Instead, he ended the game in somewhat controversial fashion. Moments before his deflection, he bumped into Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. Nothing was called, though, and Jokinen parked himself in front of the net and was able to get his stick on Seidenberg's blast.
"I tried asking everyone -- players, coaches -- if it was goal and they said, 'We don't know, we don't know,'" Jokinen said. "I was nervous and then I was relieved when they said it was a goal.
"When I was behind the net, I thought maybe there was 10 seconds (left). I wasn't sure. It was a huge game and a huge win for us."
And one for the ages. The Hurricanes had a 3-0 lead in this one, only to allow the Devils to climb right back into it on goals from Brian Gionta, Brendan Shanahan and David Clarkson. Gionta got New Jersey rolling when he scored on a breakaway with 27.8 seconds left in the second. Shanahan and Clarkson beat Cam Ward just over four minutes apart in the third.
"We were all over them, and then they get the big goal," Jokinen said. "They got the momentum after the second period. Obviously it's tough when they come back from 3-0. Our fans were great. They gave us some energy. We were able to find a goal."
Surely, a loss in this one would have been devastating for the Hurricanes after building a 3-0 lead. Really, could you imagine them coming back from a 3-1 deficit and win this series had they lost in overtime?
"The tough part was when you play 39 minutes of almost as good as we can play in terms of what we were trying to execute … we just played so very well," 'Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "We had a number of very good chances. I think (Gionta's) goal hurt us, definitely. At 3-1, their game completely changes. Our bench was probably better at 3-3 than it was at 3-2. We settled back down and I thought we were fine after that."
The Devils really weren't fine at all in the first half of the game. It wasn't until Gionta's goal that they showed much life. But boy, did they turn things around after that. It must have made the way they lost that much more painful.
"I don't think we played a real good game here tonight," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "I thought for 35 minutes of the game, we let them dictate the play. We made too many mistakes. But that goal got us going. We played real good in the third period. We were able to battle back. Strange things happen."
Other notes from Game 4:
-- While they failed to cash in with the man advantage (0-for-4), Maurice was pleased with what he saw from Carolina's power play. The Hurricanes are now 1-for-14 in this series.
"Our power play was good tonight. It came at the right time," Maurice said. "We moved the puck better and made some adjustments that I think were pretty effective. Our penalty kill was pretty solid. Both teams' penalty kills have been very, very effective."
-- One has to wonder how this game would have ended up if not for the efforts of Brodeur in the first two periods. The future Hall of Famer faced 37 shots through 40 minutes and put the Devils in a position to rally. Carolina outshot New Jersey 22-10 in the second period.
"Quality scoring chances at that time, they had over a dozen," Sutter said of the Hurricanes. "That's just not good enough. Defensively, we weren't very good in the first two periods."
Clarkson, who tied the game for New Jersey with 11:14 remaining, agreed.
"We didn't play our best tonight and we didn't deserve to win," he said. "(Marty) kept us in the game. That's the reason we came back. He plays unbelievable for us every night. We didn't play a full 60 minutes and that's why we lost. We've got to put that behind us and go back in our building and go back to the things that we do right."
-- Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador was forced to leave the game with 2:52 remaining in the second period after Carolina forward Chad LaRose fell on what looked to be Salvador's left calf. He was able to skate to the dressing room and is confident he'll be in the lineup for Game 5 on Thursday.
"Definitely," he said when asked if he thinks he'll be able to play. "We'll see how it feels in the next 24 hours.
-- With his second-period goal in Game 4, LaRose now has two tallies and an assist in the first four games of this series. The pesky forward hopes the Hurricanes can put forth a 60-minute effort on Thursday -- something they didn't do on Tuesday despite getting the win.
"You've got to stay on your game, just like I'm sure they're trying to do," LaRose said. "If you let up on anybody, they're going to come back like they did. We've just got to establish our game from the start and play 60 (minutes)."
-- Brian Compton
Back in the saddle
04.21.2009 7:06 PM ET
As expected, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has been inserted back into the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup for tonight's Game 4 against the New Jersey Devils. Seidenberg had been a healthy scratch the previous two games.
Frantisek Kaberle will sit this one out.
-- Brian Compton
A Q&A with Clarkson
04.21.2009 1:36 PM
Perhaps the biggest reason why the Carolina Hurricanes came away with the victory in Game 2 was their commitment to playing a physical style.
The 'Canes weren't as physical in Game 3, but they did manage to force overtime. It's likely they will increase their physical on play tonight in Game 4 -- a game that need to have in order to go back to New Jersey with the series tied at two games apiece.
With that in mind, I sat down with rugged Devils forward David Clarkson to get his thoughts on Carolina's approach tonight.
Q: Carolina was very physical in Game 2 and ultimately won the game in overtime. Do you expect them to be just as physical tonight?
A: I think they're going to come out harder than they have. They've got a good team over there. They've got some players who can do a lot with the puck. They do play physical, so we're going to play the same way we did last game and in Game 1. We haven't really had a game where we've been bad this whole series. The one loss, the bounce went their way. That's what happens in the playoffs.
Q: Do you think they got away from their physical game in Game 3?
A: I'm sure what the difference in hits were, but I'm pretty sure they were pretty close. They have guys who going to throw hits out there, but we all do our own jobs out there. If we do that, we'll be fine."
Q: Should they be more physical tonight, what do you guys have to do to make sure they don't get under your skin?
A: We've got guys that can be just as physical, and I think we are just as physical as a team. We've just got to be positive and play our game. We can't worry about going after a guy or chasing a guy. Just play our own game and move the puck well. We've just got to keep playing the way we are.
Q: They've yet to have a lead in regulation. Should you score the first goal tonight, do you think you can really get into their heads?
A: I think the first goal is big in any playoff game. We've got to keep doing what we're doing -- put the puck on net early and get off to a little bit of a lead and hold on to it. We have to stay on our toes all the time and create offense.
Other notes from Devils practice:
-- Martin Brodeur, who has a 1.60 goals-against average in the first three games, is expecting Carolina to come out with a ton of emotion tonight. After all, the Hurricanes are in desperate need of a victory.
"For them, it's a big game," Brodeur said. "It's a big game for us, too, but they know if they lose that game it's going to be a tough road. We expect them to play their best game of the series tonight."
The Hurricanes have struggled on the power play -- they are just 1-for-10 in this series -- and have scored only four goals at even strength in the first three games. Brodeur raved about the way his team has played in such situations.
"I think 5-on-5, we've been playing really well," said Brodeur, who enters tonight with a .938 save percentage. "We don't give up much. Our power play is where we need to improve a little bit. In Game 2, we had a lot of chances to put them away and we didn't do it. Special teams is really important, especially in the playoffs. It changes the momentum in a game a lot.
"We have a lot of respect for them. We know if we don't do things right, we're going to be in trouble. They have the personnel and the type of players that can hurt you."
That's why Devils coach Brent Sutter would like to see his team do a better job of staying out of the penalty box tonight. Carolina was awarded five power plays in Game 3, including a 52-second two-man advantage.
"We know they've got some talented, skilled players on it and we have to do things a certain way," Sutter said. "We want to be disciplined. The other night, we took too many penalties. They're a talented group and they can make things happen."
-- Chris Terreri made one of the biggest saves of his life this morning. The former Devils' goaltender, who now works for the organization, was able to get the shaft of his stick on a puck that deflected off Brodeur and was headed for an area no man likes to discuss.
Clearly, the reflexes are still there.
"He made a great save there," Sutter joked. "He could be in the hospital right now getting a hernia operation."
-- Brian Compton
Ward: It's a 'must-win'
04.21.2009 1:03 PM ET
The Carolina Hurricanes understand the situation they're in heading into tonight's Game 4 against the New Jersey Devils.
Win, and it's all even again. Lose, and they've got themselves a tremendous uphill battle.
"Every game is huge," said Carolina goalie Cam Ward, who has a 2.57 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage despite being 1-2. "It's obviously an important game. You've got to look at it as a must-win. In the playoffs, you've got to be able to treat every game like it's a Game 7. Tonight won't be anything different."
A quick start would certainly be beneficial for the Hurricanes, who have yet to have a lead in regulation in this series. That puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Ward, who has played well thus far.
"It's huge," Ward said of a potential fast start. "You want to be able to come out fired up and be in control of your emotions. As far as I know, we haven't had a lead yet in regulation. It'd be nice to be able to score that first goal."
Captain Rod Brind'Amour agreed.
"You want to get the first one, the second one and the third one, but if it doesn't happen it doesn't change your game," Brind'Amour said. "You still have to go after it. We haven't gotten the starts that we wanted, but they're a good team."
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice took a different approach on how big it would be for his team to score the first goal tonight.
"That's something I can't tell you because we haven't had the opportunity," he said. "I don't have any reference points, but it's been fairly big for them. We'd like to see if it works well for us."
Other notes from Carolina's skate:
-- Maurice had an extended conversation with veteran forward Ray Whitney on the ice this morning. Whitney is one of the team's top guns and has two points in the first three games of this series.
"Ray sees the game a lot like (assistant coach) Ronnie Francis did. There's certain players in your locker room you can go to and they'll talk to you more like a coach would. He's got an interesting view of what happens on the ice. I talk to Ray on a fairly regular basis on all different elements. He's just been an incredible performer for us this year and he has a keen awareness of what happens on the ice. That's just using your resources."
-- The Devils have blown leads in each of the last two games of the series, but have never trailed in regulation. Ward was asked what the 'Canes need to do tonight get over the hump.
"They're so stingy defensively. It's tough to come back on them," he said. "It's something we expect. They can be a frustrating team, but it's important that you stick with it and wait for your opportunities."
-- I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing that Dennis Seidenberg will be in the lineup tonight. Seidenberg was smiling in the locker room after practice and spoke with reporters. But who comes out if Seidenberg is inserted back into the lineup? The same bet is Frantisek Kaberle, but the veteran defenseman played well in Games 2 and 3.
-- Brian Compton
A bittersweet night for Bayda
04.20.2009 3:05 PM
It was a moment that will stand the test of time for Ryan Bayda when he beat Martin Brodeur for his first-ever goal in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
If only his team had a reason to celebrate when the match was over.
The Carolina Hurricanes forward notched his first postseason tally just 31 seconds after Zach Parise had given the New Jersey Devils a 1-0 lead early in the opening period. However, the Hurricanes fell behind 2-1 in this best-of-seven series when Travis Zajac scored in overtime in a 3-2 decision here at RBC Center.
"It was good and I was glad to get it and kind of get it out of the way, but in the end, it's just another goal," Bayda said on Monday afternoon. "It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life and enjoy it."
Bayda was a healthy scratch for Game 1 but was inserted into the lineup following that 4-1 loss. Carolina coach Paul Maurice said Bayda will be in there again for Game 4 on Tuesday night.
"I think they played really well in their role and had good energy. You're certainly going to see them again. You're not going to see any lineup changes in that area."
"I'm not talking about that. We're just going to take it a period at a time and see what happens."
Other notes from Monday:
-- If you didn't think Zach Parise was a superstar before, perhaps the first three games of this series have helped change your mind? The former first-round pick (2003) has scored in each game thus far and has five points.
As humble as Parise is, I couldn't help but ask No. 9 if he views himself as an NHL superstar.
"I don't know," said Parise, who finished fifth in the League with 94 points. "I think this year has gone really well and I've always said to these guys that I've wanted to improve on my numbers each year and be a bigger contributor on the team every year. I don't know. When I think of a star in the League, I think of (Sidney) Crosby, (Alex) Ovechkin … (Evgeni) Malkin. That's up for you guys to decide. I'm not going to say it."
OK … I'll say it. Zach Parise is a superstar and will be for a very long time. And I'm not the only one who thinks so.
"He's certainly one of the top players in the League, so if people want to put him in that category, that's fine," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "He's certainly one of the top players in the League."
"He's not an average player in the League … he's very gifted offensively and he's got a great work ethic," Maurice said of Parise. "Taking the puck from him wasn't something other teams seemed to be able to do in the 82-game regular season, and I don't think it's going to be any easier in the playoffs for us."
-- Carolina forward Tuomo Ruutu had a pretty good theory as to why certain teams seems to get more breaks or bounces than others: Hard work.
"I believe if you play well, you're going to get the bounces," said Ruutu, who had 26 goals and 28 assists during the regular season. We got the bounces in Game 2 and they got the bounces yesterday. That's the way it goes. It's hockey."
-- Sutter said there's a "good chance" the Devils' lineup will remain the same for Game 4. Obviously, Bobby Holik was none too pleased about being scratched for the first two games, an issue Sutter touched on this afternoon.
"It's a tough situation to come back into, but that's just the way it is," Sutter said. "It's all part of it. He's got to be ready to play when called upon. It was a numbers thing. At that point in time, we had 12 forwards who we felt needed to be in the lineup ahead of him. That's just reality. Now he's getting his chance. His role is his role, and he has to play it to the best of his capabilities. That's the way it is. I'm not getting caught up in everything else involved in it."
-- He didn't come right out and say it, but Maurice may tinker with his blue line for Game 4. There's at least a decent chance that Dennis Seidenberg will return after being a healthy scratch for Games 3 and 4. But that doesn't mean that Frantisek Kaberle is headed back to the press box.
"It's not necessarily Frankie and Seids … there are just matchups and other things that go into that," Maurice said. "We'll figure it out tomorrow and it's something we'll talk about today."
-- After being held without a goal in last year's five-game loss to the New York Rangers, Travis Zajac notched one of the biggest tallies of his life on Sunday night. The soon-to-be 24-year-old admitted he feels more comfortable this postseason.
"Last year was disappointing," he said. "I didn't play up to my capability. I sat back a lot and second-guessed myself. I didn't really create much offensively. I think this year has sort of been the opposite. Playing with Jamie (Langenbrunner) and Zach, we want to create turnovers and that's what I'm best at."
-- Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward briefly spoke with reporters on Monday and believes he knows what it will take to even this best-of-seven series. It was the same approach that helped Carolina win Game 2 in New Jersey.
"They've got four lines that can score," Ward said of the Devils. "You look at Parise, and he's been able to score in the first three games. He's a guy that you have to take away his time and space and be physical with. I think that was a big reason why we were successful in Game 2 -- we were physical. We've got to get back to being like that."
-- Brian Compton
Taste of their own medicine
04.20.2009 1:55 AM
It was a painful way to lose a hockey game, there's no doubt about that.
But after three games in their best-of-7 series against the New Jersey Devils, one has to at least wonder if doubt is starting to creep into the minds of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Sure, they're only down 2-1, with another home game to be played at the RBC Center on Tuesday night. But the Hurricanes have been ahead only once in the first three games, and that was when Tim Gleason scored the game-winner in overtime on Friday night at The Rock.
Carolina never had the lead in Game 3 on its home ice, although it fought back to erase 1-0 and 2-1 deficits. Still, the Hurricanes' power play struggled again -- they went 0-for-5 on Sunday and failed to consistently pepper Martin Brodeur the way they need to if they plan on winning this series.
To be fair, Carolina had the Devils on their heels in the latter portion of the third period. But they couldn't find a way to end it in regulation. Travis Zajac ended it for them less than five minutes into overtime.
"We had some good looks and he made some big saves in the third period and a couple in overtime," Carolina center Eric Steal said of Brodeur, who finished with 28 saves. "That's the deal. It's the playoffs and Cam (Ward) made some huge saves. It went both ways. Our compete level was there."
Not having the lead at all on Sunday didn't seem to bother the Hurricanes after three periods, and why would it? After all, they never had the lead in regulation in Game 2, yet went home with a split.
"We were definitely confident going into the overtime," Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour said. "But we came up on the short end. We've come back all year and we came back again tonight."
For once, though, it would be nice for Paul Maurice if his team could score first and put some pressure on the Devils. When the subject was brought up to him during Sunday's postgame press conference, Maurice managed to get the room to laugh.
"Yeah … we would like to try that and see how it goes," he said.
"These are tight games. There will be parts of your game that you won't be excited about and parts that are pretty good. When you get into overtime in any game, you've played well enough to get to overtime."
Now, as they face a must-win situation on Tuesday, it's time for the 'Canes to find a way to play well enough to win in 60 minutes.
Other notes from Game 3:
-- The Devils used a different approach to Sunday's overtime as opposed to how they went about it in Game 2. This time, they didn't allow the Hurricanes to dictate the play.
"The first overtime game, it was almost like we were playing not to lose," said New Jersey forward Zach Parise, who has scored in each of the first three games of this series. "I think we did a better job of going after them and not be afraid to make mistakes."
-- With the win, New Jersey improved to 1-5 in postseason overtime games against Carolina. To the players, though, most of them could care less since they weren't around for the first five defeats.
"It's not something that we talk about … that's something for you guys to write about," Parise said. "It's a great way to get the first one."
"I haven't heard them talk about it, but it's in the papers every day," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "It's a tough series to play in against a very good team. It's a tight series. They won a game in our building, and obviously we were going to have to come in here and pay them back. Now we can get focused for Game 4 and see what happens. I guess you want to use it as motivation, and I guess some guys did. That's a good thing."
-- The game was tied until late in the first period, when Carolina defenseman Joe Corvo put the puck right on Brian Gionta's stick, about 10 feet away from the Hurricanes' net. The Devils forward made him pay dearly, as he beat Ward to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
"If you are going to make one mistake it can't come with a guy going in alone on your goaltender," Maurice said. "And you don’t like to see it happen that late in a period. But based on how well we're forechecking, almost all of our goals are going to come off of turnovers, too.
"That's what this is … it's a grind. This series hasn't been played in the neutral zone and it won't be a puck movement, neutral zone series. The team that battles the hardest in their own end is going to win."
-- Bobby Holik made his series debut and had one shot on goal in 7:15. He also took a high-sticking penalty midway through the second period, as the butt end of his stick made contact with Corvo's face.
When asked how he felt about joining a series that is already in progress, Holik said, "I wouldn't recommend it to anybody."
-- Brian Compton
04.19.2009 7:31 PM ET
As expected, the Carolina Hurricanes are going with the same lineup that pulled out a 2-1 overtime victory in New Jersey on Friday night.
Rod Brind'Amour will center the starting line alongside Sergei Samsonov and Patrick Eaves. John Madden starts for the Devils with Jay Pandolfo and Brendan Shanahan.
Frantisek Kaberle, a healthy scratch in Game 1, is starting on the Hurricanes' blue line with Niclas Wallin. Colin White and Mike Mottau are starting on defense for New Jersey.
-- Brian Compton
04.19.2009 1:40 PM
One of the League's loudest buildings will be rocking on Sunday night, as the Carolina Hurricanes have returned home following a split in their first two games against the New Jersey Devils.
The tailgating will commence shortly, as Carolina players will get to drive by and see just how eager the fans are to host Game 3 of this first-round series.
"There's always signs out there and everything. It's good," said Hurricanes forward Erik Cole, who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and was reacquired by the club at the trade deadline. "When you're coming to the rink and the atmosphere's already there on the outside on the building, you know it's going to be there on the inside of the building even for warm-ups. The fans are starting to pile in and get excited. It's a great time of year."
Cole expects his club to feed off the energetic crowd, which will be roaring as soon as the Hurricanes take ice for the pre-game skate. He said it's a testament to just how passionate and appreciative the fans are down here.
"It's one thing you can say about your fans -- they're not just here to watch hockey and be entertained," he said. "They're here to have fun and enjoy the experience of coming to the games. They're into it right from the start. It's a great atmosphere when the puck drops."
Devils forward Zach Parise says his team knows what to expect from the crowd. He's hoping he and his teammates can silence them -- and quickly.
"You expect the crowd to be into it, but you can also use it to your advantage," Parise said. "You can go right after them and take the crowd out of the game and get them a little frustrated. I think that plays to our advantage. You can look at it two ways -- you can sit back and so-called 'weather the storm,' or you can just go after them. There's no reason for us to sit back just because there's going to be a rowdy crowd."
Other tidbits from Sunday morning:
-- Carolina coach Paul Maurice was pleased with the way his team responded in Game 2, especially from a physical standpoint. He hopes to see more of tonight -- although with even more discipline that was on display on Friday. The Devils were awarded six power plays, compared to the Hurricanes' three.
"That was the challenge for us," Maurice said. "I think we brought a lot of emotion to that game. We have to settle into this series now and play as physically as we can be. Keep in mind, we're not going out there trying to run the other team out of the building -- we're not built to do that. But we've got to be physical. I think what it did is it allowed us to play a little stronger on the puck, which is where we were really struggling.
"We were the least penalized team in the League over the course of the regular season, which is usually an advantage for our team. I think it's 10-5 in terms of minors, and that's not a recipe for winning."
-- With Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner out with a lower-body injury, it is expected that Brian Rolston will join Zach Parise and Travis Zajac on the top line. Rolston, who signed with New Jersey as a free agent last summer, had 15 goals and 17 assists during the regular season after back-to-back 31-goal campaigns with the Minnesota Wild.
"Zach has carried us all year, as well as Travis. Let's be perfectly honest about that," Rolston said of Parise and Zajac, who combined for 65 goals in 2008-09. "I'm just going to go in and fill in a spot and just do my best to help contribute.
"I've played a lot of games and I've been in a lot of playoff games. I'm just looking forward to it. I'm excited about it more than anything. The opportunity's there. It'll be fun for me."
Parise is confident that Rolston can do the job for Langenbrunner -- the same way Scott Clemmensen did after Martin Brodeur went down early in the season with a biceps injury. Clemmensen won 25 games for New Jersey in Brodeur's absence.
"We're used to having an important part of the team go down, with Marty being out for so long," Parise said. "We had everyone step up. I wouldn't expect anything different now. Everyone's going to pick up their game now."
Devils coach Brent Sutter also pointed to the Brodeur injury as a reason why nobody in New Jersey should panic about Langenbrunner going down. The Devils' captain will also miss Game 4 on Tuesday night.
"You'd like to think it can (be used as a confidence booster) … look at what it's done for us this year," Sutter said. "That's certainly what compiled early for us. It really formed our team and where we went as a hockey team. Do you like to see it happen? No. Would we rather have Jamie in the lineup? Absolutely. We have to find a way, and we will."
-- From an emotional standpoint, Maurice is hoping his players use the same approach tonight that they did on Friday, when the Hurricanes were trailing 1-0 in this best-of-seven series. Now that Carolina has tied it, it's time to forget about Game 2 and go for the series lead.
"You leave a win and you feel good about it, and then you've got to get back into that mindset," Maurice said. "It was an advantage to us going into Game 2 that we were on edge. There was a tension coming to the rink -- even in the morning skate. You expect that your players hit that reset button and forget the good feeling at the end of it and come back with a little bit of that edge and nervousness at the start of the game."
-- Brian Compton
Langenbrunner out for 2 games
04.18.2009 8:16 PM
Captain Jamie Langenbrunner won't play in either of the Devils' two playoff games at Carolina. GM Lou Lamoriello says the lower body injury that sent Langenbrunner to the locker room midway through Game 2 will keep him on the sidelines.
Langenbrunner stayed home Saturday when the Devils flew to Raleigh for Game 3, scheduled for Sunday night.
"Jamie Langenbrunner will not be with us on this trip," Lamoriello said. "He'll be out these next two games. We'll see how he is when we get back. He's not out of the series."
Coach Brent Sutter used Patrik Elias in Langenbrunner's spot after the injury. Brian Rolston could get the call on Sunday night.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity," Rolston said. "With Jamie out, maybe I'll be given the opportunity to play the point on the first power play unit. I'm not nervous about it. I'm ready for whatever he gives me."
-- John Kreiser, with wire service reports
04.17.2009 12:20 AM
Forty-eight hours after being thoroughly outplayed in a 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, the Carolina Hurricanes stepped up in every facet of the game en route to Friday's 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2.
Cam Ward was solid again for the Hurricanes, as he stopped 33 of 34 shots for his first postseason win of 2009.
"We were much better," said Ward, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2006. "We weren't very happy with the way we played in Game 1. First and foremost, we wanted to bring our competitiveness tonight, and our guys worked extremely hard. It was a tight game, but we didn't force the issue. We waited for opportunities and we capitalized."
They certainly did in overtime, when Carolina outshot New Jersey 5-0. The Hurricanes had a shift prior to Tim Gleason's game-winner that saw them keep the puck in the Devils' end for close to a minute. It was quite the opposite from what everyone saw at The Rock on Wednesday night.
"My advice was just to get bodies in front of the net," Ward said. "You never know what's going to happen. Usually, an overtime goal is going to be an ugly net. I'm still not sure how that puck went in in overtime, but it doesn't matter to me right now. It's just important we got the win."
Eric Staal agreed. The Hurricanes' top center made no bones about which team was hungrier entering the extra session.
"We came out in overtime looking to get the win," said Staal, who scored Carolina's lone goal in regulation. "It was big. We played a lot better today. We were competing on pucks. We knew it was going to be a tight-checking game, that's the way it is against the Devils. It was a good road win. We'll go home and be ready to play on Sunday."
Other notes from Game 2:
-- The fact that Carolina came out with a stronger effort didn't surprise anyone in New Jersey's locker room, especially goaltender Martin Brodeur.
"We knew they weren't going to roll over," said Brodeur, who made 30 saves. "They showed some of the skills they have and they showed how physical they can be with their speed. I thought we played a really good game. They got a few lucky bounces. That's playoffs. You've got to overcome that and move forward."
-- The Hurricanes certainly appeared to be the more physical team in Game 2, but Devils coach Brent Sutter wasn't disappointed with the way his club responded to the rough stuff.
"I don't know if they got the best of us physically," Sutter said. "We knew it was going to be a more physical game. We knew they were going to be certainly a different team. They played hard and we played hard. We came up short in overtime."
-- Jay Pandolfo is OK following his collision with Hurricanes forward Erik Cole late in the third period. He is expected to be in the lineup for Game 3. Whether or not captain Jamie Langenbrunner will join him is another story. The Devils' captain suffered a lower-body injury in the second.
"We can't worry about who's hurt and who's not … that's playoff hockey," said Brodeur, who missed nearly four months during the regular season with a biceps injury. "You just have to hope that everybody's fine."
-- Without question, the RBC Center will be rocking for Sunday's Game 3. But don't expect New Jersey to be intimidated.
"Some people might find it chaotic, but I actually find it fun," John Madden said of playing in Carolina. "It's a really loud building. I don't if it's the way the building's designed, but it's a lot louder there than it is here. It's a good environment to have fun in."
-- Brian Compton
Is there a doctor in the house?
04.17.2009 10:01 PM ET
Add veteran forward Jay Pandolfo to the injured list.
After already losing Jamie Langenbrunner to an undisclosed injury in the second period, the Devils are now without Jay Pandolfo, who collided with Erik Cole right in front of New Jersey's net just moments ago.
The game is tied 1-1 with a minute left in regulation.
-- Brian Compton
04.17.2009 9:05 PM ET
Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner has just headed to the dressing room with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
Langenbrunner, who had a career-high 29 goals this season, was visibly limping as he headed off.
Details to follow.
-- Brian Compton
Changes have arrived
04.17.2009 7:05 PM ET
As promised, Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice has made adjustments to his lineup for tonight's Game 2 at New Jersey.
Maurice has decided to swap a pair of defensemen. In: Frantisek Kaberle, Ryan Bayda. Out: Dennis Seidenberg, Tim Conboy.
Seidenberg was a minus-1 and did not record a shot on goal in Game 1. Conboy received less than four minutes of ice time.
-- Brian Compton
Expect more of the same
04.17.2009 1:40 PM
Now that the Carolina Hurricanes have seen what the New Jersey Devils have in store for them, coach Paul Maurice knows Brent Sutter won't be coming at him with an entirely different game plan on Friday night.
"We now know what to expect," Maurice told the media just hours before Game 2 of this best-of-seven series. "I don't think you're going to see New Jersey's game change. It hasn't in over a decade. We know what they're bringing."
Now, it's up to Carolina to bring it. The Hurricanes put forth a lackluster effort on Wednesday and paid dearly for it in a 4-1 loss. If they have any hope of winning Game 2, they know they have to bring a lot more fire to The Rock later tonight.
"We have to be on the attack," said center Eric Staal, who was held to just two shots on goal in 19:26 on Wednesday. "We have to make sure we're skating and winning the puck battles. We didn't win enough puck battles in our end (in Game 1) and in their end. I think that'll be the difference, especially in the playoffs."
Staal, who centers the top line with Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole, was disappointed that the trio was unable to generate any quality chances against Martin Brodeur. Ruutu and Cole only had one shot on goal apiece on Wednesday.
"I just don't think our line sustained enough offense," Staal said. "We didn't have it down there enough to rattle it around. We're three big, strong guys and we should be able to protect the puck and move it around and try to hang on to it longer in the offensive zone. They did a good job of getting it and flipping it out."
With Game 2 only hours away, what do they do to sustain pressure against the Devils?
"We have to keep it simple and make sure we're doing the little things, making sure your feet are moving and shooting pucks," Staal said. "The best chance to score is to put pucks on net. For me, it's just making sure I'm getting to the net and throwing it there."
While the Devils know there's still a ways to go in this series, so do the Hurricanes. It'd be silly to think they are going to panic considering they won the Stanley Cup only three years ago.
"We're excited," Staal said. "This isn't the easiest place to win, but we know we can do it. We've got to make sure that we're ready to go tonight. We have to come out better than we did last game. We'll get some good results if we play well."
-- Some other tidbits from Carolina's skate:
"I don't think we look at one game as the essence of our season," Maurice said. "They've been so good for us all season. New Jersey was very good as a team, and we weren't great as a team."
-- Maurice on what he needs to do to get his players to match New Jersey's intensity:
"We just absolutely abuse them before the game … call them names," he joked. "That always works.
"They just have to have an awareness of it, that in fact that's what happened. Once that have that acceptance that they know that's what happened, then they bring that level up. Their level was better than ours (in Game 1)."
-- The Prudential Center had plenty of life on Wednesday and could be even louder for Game 2. Maurice said he was impressed by the state-of-the-art facility, which opened its doors in October of 2007.
"I think it's a great looking building … I really do," Maurice said after his team skated Friday morning. "I think the rooms underneath for the visiting team are real good. I like the morning skates; seeing a little sunlight's good. It gets pretty loud. It's not quite Carolina loud. Carolina is a really, really loud building. But if they play as well as they did (Wednesday) night, it'll be loud enough. It drives the home team's legs."
-- Brian Compton
It's just one game
04.17.2009 12:15 PM ET
There's no reason to plan a Stanley Cup parade in downtown Newark just yet. After all, the New Jersey Devils still need to win three more games just to get out of the opening round.
That was the message being conveyed around the Devils' dressing room Friday morning, just hours before they attempt to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 series against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils thoroughly outplayed the 'Canes in Game 1, as they skated away with a 4-1 victory at the Prudential Center Wednesday night.
"It's one game, so you try not to think too much about it," New Jersey forward Jay Pandolfo said. "You need to win four games to win a series. It's just one game. Things can change in a second, so you kind of just put it behind you. We've got to get ready for Game 2."
Though we won't know until the puck drops at 7:30 p.m., one has to expect the Hurricanes will come out with a lot more energy than they exhibited in Game 1. Despite its high-powered offense, Carolina was held to just 19 shots on goal and was held off the scoreboard until Ray Whitney's goal midway through the third period.
"You certainly have to expect Carolina to play a very good game here tonight," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "We have to make sure we keep our foot on the pedal and use the last game as a steppingstone and continue to get better."
Martin Brodeur was solid in his first postseason start of 2009, although he wasn't really tested all that often. However, the League's all-time winningest goalie said he felt like he was in the game throughout the contest.
"There's so much importance that you're in the game, you don't notice you're not getting shots," Brodeur said this morning. "I had to play the puck a lot, especially in that period. They were trying to get some offense by dumping the puck and I was able to play it around them. That keeps you in the game when you do that, too."
So then Game 1 wasn't as easy as it looked?
"It's never easy," Brodeur said. "You've got to come through. Games are played certain ways. It's never easy, regardless if you get 20 shots or 40 shots. You've got to be ready and make the saves that need to be made."
If the Hurricanes get their way, their apply more pressure in the first 10 minutes of tonight than they did through 60 minutes on Wednesday. It will be up to the Devils to once again find a way to shut Carolina down in a game the Hurricanes need desperately. Game 3 will take place in Carolina on Sunday night.
"I thought we played well as a team, so I'm sure they're going to come out and give it everything they've got tonight," Pandolfo said. "We've got to be ready for it and try to play the same way we did the other night. That's important."
Some other tidbits from Friday morning:
-- Sutter spoke highly of rugged forward Mike Rupp, who recorded two shots on goal in 8:41 of ice time in Game 1. It was Rupp's first appearance since a 4-1 loss to Toronto on April 7.
"He hadn't played in a bit, and he's usually responded well after not playing," Sutter said. "I hope I don't have to use that as an example all the time, but it seems to work with him. For the most part, Ruppie has been a pretty effective player for us. He's a big man. When he's on his game and doing the things that we want him to do, that's when he's most effective."
-- Sutter on the amount of dialogue he has with his son, Brandon, a first-round draft choice of Carolina's in 2007. Brandon likely won't play in this series, having not appeared in a game with the big club since Feb. 17.
"It's a situation where I don't want to put him in an awkward situation, and he probably doesn't want to do the same," the elder Sutter said. "Yet, he's still my son. Through the winter, he doesn't talk about -- and I don't ask -- about his team and the things they do. It's none of my business. It's very professional with how we do things. It is what it is.
"I guess as a dad, I wish he was playing. This is pro sports and decisions are made daily on situations. He's playing in a very good organization and he's playing for great people there. I know he thinks very highly of the Hurricanes, and rightly so. Is it easy for me to have him not playing? No. I wish he was playing."
-- Brian Compton