The lopsided loss and other such distractions aside, it appears as if the Hurricanes are ready to get back to business in Tuesday night’s Game 6.
There isn’t a sense of fear or overwhelming disappointment after Sunday’s 4-0 defeat, but rather the matter-of-fact acknowledgement that they are still in the driver’s seat in this series and should have a good chance to move on if they get back to the game that got them this far.
“The good news is that it wasn’t one of those heartbreaking losses that can linger,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “That one is pretty much easy to put behind us.”
“We just lost our focus and got away from what made us successful,” said goaltender Cam Ward. “We’ve got the veteran guys in this locker room to calm things down and get back to playing the way we know that we need to play.”
Most of the players’ indicated today that their “A” game would involve staying away from the extracurricular activities that marked Game 5 and its 29 penalties – a tally that didn’t suit the Hurricanes as the NHL’s best-behaved team in the regular season and likely won’t suit them again tomorrow.
For that reason, I would be surprised if the game resembled the virtual brawl, at least at the start, that some seem to be expecting now that we know Scott Walker will be in the lineup. Aaron Ward, the recipient of Walker’s now-famous punch, still has no official diagnosis and may also play, according to the Boston Globe.
We should see a hard-hitting yet mostly clean game at the outset, although one never knows what could happen late if one team was dominating the other on the scoreboard.
“It will be incumbent upon our players as much as theirs not to do things after the whistles that hurts their team,” said Coach Paul Maurice.
Whatever happens, it’s a game the Hurricanes believe they can win, despite Boston having taken a little of their momentum from the previous three games. That being said, the Canes are focused on the finer points of their on-ice product, rather than what may or may not happen down the line.
“We’re talking about details now in the locker room, not outcomes and expectations,” said Maurice. “This isn’t about believing that you can win, it’s about making the breakout pass that you need to and it’s about doing the hockey things. It’s not a matter of trying to wind them up to get more emotion out of them, it’s about getting all the emotion going in the right direction.”
Based on some of the comments in the locker room today, it seems the players have grasped that concept.
“Right now we’re pretty excited. We’re in great position,” said Brind’Amour. “We know we didn’t play well, so there’s going to be that fire to play a lot better.”