"We did pretty much zero percent of the things we set out to do in terms of improving on our performance versus Game 1," said the grim-faced, playoff-bearded veteran blueliner. "We didn’t have it.
"I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t focused, we just seemed out of sorts at times."
Ward expanded on that thought.
"I don’t know if you can spell the word, but it was discombobulated out there at times," said Ward. "We weren’t together.
"It has nothing to do with the coaches in the offices, it has to do with the players in this locker room and something went wrong and we’ve got to figure it out amongst ourselves what it is."
For all of his usual good humor and wit, on Sunday night Ward's face belied anger. Clearly, he and his teammates, many of whom echoed his sentiments, believe they missed an important opportunity on Sunday night.
"I hate walking away from Boston 1-and-1," said Ward. "Our goal was to come out 2-0 and concentrate on stealing one at Carolina, but now we’ve got a little bit of a loftier goal ahead of us and hopefully we can accomplish it."
"I hate walking away from Boston 1-and-1...our goal was to come out 2-0 and concentrate on stealing one at Carolina, but now we’ve got a little bit of a loftier goal ahead of us and hopefully we can accomplish it." - Aaron Ward
It certainly won't be easy. Carolina's success in the last quarter of the season has reinvigorated their fan base and the RBC Center will be rocking on Wednesday night.
"You know what, the great part about playing Montreal, is we’re going to see the same thing in Carolina – it’s probably one of the loudest buildings in the league, and we encountered it in Montreal," said Ward. "There’ll be some adversity, the fans will be into it, there’ll be some emotion, and hopefully we know how to play a solid road game.
"If we thought we were going through here 16-0, we’re kidding ourselves, and it’s a big test for us now.
"A little adversity, [that we] didn’t encounter it game-wise against Montreal, but we encountered it period to period. We got down 1-0 both games on the road, and we’ll see how we respond."
Hopefully part of that response is figuring out how to solve Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward. As predicted by Boston's Ward, Carolina's goaltender looked downright bulletproof in his net.
"Well in the first period...I had an opportunity there and just got a part of the puck," said Ward. "Another one we had...was just a wide-open net and. I don’t know if he saved it or missed it and then we had another one, third period, we were all standing on the bench thinking it went in.
"It’s a good lesson for us to understand that that goalie is never out of the play and he's...he’s a competitor and don’t take the opportunity lightly if you have an open net you’ve gotta bury it."
Like most of New England, Ward wished Boston were playing on Monday night.
|Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas sits on the end of the bench after being pulled for an extra skater late in the third period of the Bruins' 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Eastern Conference semifinal series Sunday, May 3, 2009, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) |
"We have two days to think about it, and I’d like to get right back at it," he said. "I think there’s enough of a sour taste in our mouths, considering the effort we put forth and the results we got.
"So I think we, as a whole, we’d like to get right back on the horse."
Is there any specific prescription for a bounce back?
"You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due, they played well. They played a solid system. I’m not going to come out of this interview saying it was all us, we didn’t play well – the opponent played well," said Ward. "They evaluated exactly how we played in Game 1.
"Now it’s our turn to go back, look at video, manipulate the power play, work on the penalty kill, figure out what we need to do in the neutral zone to get those guys in their zone.
"There you go, there’s game three in a nutshell for you," he said, with a smile, finally.
"[This one's] over with," said Ward. "The game’s done and we have to have a different mentality going into Carolina -- play a good, solid road game and we’ve got to play disciplined like we have been. Can’t let that emotion get the best of us."