Doesn’t it figure that the most offensive game of the series was also the one with the fewest goals?
That’s a testament to the goaltending match-up between Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward
, which despite some very solid play through the first five games hadn't yet gotten a chance to shine the way it did last night.
With 44 shots on net and just one goal against, the Hurricanes probably deserved better from this one, especially with the stage set for yet another dramatic late goal to add to the playoff lore between these two teams. If the Canes play on Sunday the way they played in the second half of last night’s game, they’ll probably be a lot more pleased with the result.
“We thought we were going to get it done,” said Eric Staal. “I thought we really pushed hard in the second half of the second period and pretty much the whole third, besides giving up a few odd-mans because of us pressing, but Wardo came up with some huge saves there.
“We were all over them, but we just didn’t score. We’ve got to stay positive and stay with it.”
Brodeur or not, pucks are bound to go in if the Canes can continue to throw so many on net. Just look at the one that beat Cam Ward last night and the one that beat Brodeur with 0.2 seconds left on Tuesday – unstoppable deflections.
After a season-low 19 shots on goal in Game 1, the Hurricanes seem to have made some adjustments that have greatly increased their scoring opportunities of late. Carolina has taken over 40 shots on goal in back-to-back games.
“We have to continue to do that and realize that’s a pretty good feat in itself,” said Paul Maurice.
In terms of what further adjustments they can make, there really isn’t much the Hurricanes can do ahead of Sunday’s Game 6. There's no question they've been getting the offensive pressure they want, and they've done a good job of shutting down Zach Parise's line over the last two games.
“Both teams stand there looking for and edge, and I’m not sure there is one,” said Maurice. “I think come Sunday we’re going to see a very, very similar game and it’s going to come down to the two the two guys in the pipes.”
Although they weren’t as dominating as Carolina was towards the end, New Jersey did have the upper hand through roughly the first half of the game, even though their power play goal came when the Canes were starting to sway the momentum.
When pressed for an answer of what they could do better, being more consistent was about all the Canes could come up with.
“I thought when we were playing our best hockey we were all over them, and we’ve just got to keep it that way the whole 60 minutes,” said Tuomo Ruutu.
The term gets thrown around all the time, but we’ve now approached the only instance this season where it’s actually 100 percent true – the Hurricanes are in a must-win situation. Expect a fantastic game on Sunday, one in which it already sounds as though the home team will be more than ready for.
“We’ll play like we’re playing our last game of the season,” said Ruutu. “We control everything in the next game. We want to keep playing for a long time, so we’ve got nothing to save it for. We don ‘t have to be cautious, and we’ll go after them.”