2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs game previews are presented by Visit Raleigh.
BOSTON - The Carolina Hurricanes aim to even up the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final with the Boston Bruins in a Game 2 Sunday matinee before the series shifts to Raleigh.
The Hurricanes had two days to ruminate on a 5-2 Game 1 loss, in which the Bruins tallied two power-play goals in 28 seconds early in the third period to gain an advantage they only built upon late in regulation.
"A large chunk of that game was really positive for us. Really, it was a small fraction that wasn't very good," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "At the end of the day, it's 1-0 them, right? So, you move on."
Lessons from Game 1
Game 1 was the tale of three differing periods.
The first period was a slow starter for the Canes, but they settled in nicely after getting on the board. The Bruins struck first at the 2:55 mark of the first period, as Steven Kampfer wired home a wrist shot from the slot. The Hurricanes answered back just three seconds into their first power play of the game when Sebastian Aho redirected Andrei Svechnikov's well-placed pass. From that point on, the Canes were able to shake off any rust that had accumulated during their downtime following the Second Round.
"We were rusty, not moving our feet and not up to the pace of play," Brind'Amour said. "We got out of it fine. … It wasn't a terrible first period."
The second period was a fairly dominant one for the Hurricanes, who put 15 shots on Tuukka Rask. Greg McKegg slipped a shot under Rask's arm to give the Canes the lead about midway through the period. The only thing the Canes couldn't do was stretch that lead even further; if their lead grows to even 3-1, perhaps the result is different.
Video: Brind'Amour: "Don't understand how big this stage is"
"We dug in after we got down right away," Brind'Amour said. "It didn't feel like the game got away from us until the end there. We hung in there with them."
The third period was, indeed, where the game got away from the Hurricanes. Two early penalties tempted fate, and the league's best postseason power play took full advantage, striking twice in 28 seconds to gain a 3-2 lead. From there, the Bruins were content to let the clock tick down before they added an empty-netter with just over two minutes left to play and an additional garbage-time tally shortly after.
"We were right there. Just an unfortunate start of the third and we let it go," Dougie Hamilton said. "Hopefully we can get one tomorrow and go back home with a split."
Result aside, the Hurricanes can extrapolate what they did well in Game 1 in order to go for the split in Game 2.
"We've said all along this year that we expect to win every night," Brind'Amour said. "It's frustrating when you don't, but I don't think it's going to hamper anything we're doing going into the next game."
So, the Hurricanes turned the page. Unfortunately, a two-day gestation period only allows for the loss to simmer longer, as anticipation for Game 2 grows.
GAME 2 PROJECTED LINEUP
"Why would you be worrying about the last game?" Brind'Amour mused. "All year we've just focused on the next game and the next shift. If it's good or bad, it doesn't matter. It's what's in front of you that matters."
Video: Calvin de Haan: "Some positives we can take"
Wondering what if. Stewing over a couple penalty calls - or non-calls. None of it is conducive to forward momentum.
"Good or bad, it's always about the next step," Brind'Amour said.
The Latest on the Injury Front
Petr Mrazek and Micheal Ferland returned to the Hurricanes' lineup in Game 1, both making an impact in some way and both making it through the 60 minutes no worse for wear.
Jordan Martinook continues to battle through a lower-body injury. He did not practice on Saturday - the Hurricanes had a full complement of players, otherwise - but is expected to play in Game 2.
"He's going to play," Brind'Amour said. "I know he's banged up and a little gimpy out there, but we want him in the lineup if he can go."
Saku Maenalanen wore a yellow, no-contact sweater in Saturday's practice. An upper-body injury has forced him out of the lineup for the last three games.
"He looks good and is skating good," Brind'Amour said. "He's got that hand injury, so he can't really shoot yet. He'll want to get in there quickly, but we're not going to rush him back."
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Must-Win Attitude
In a best-of-seven series, Game 2 is by no means a must-win game, but approaching it with such an attidude will benefit the Hurricanes.
2. Off and Running
The Hurricanes appeared rusty and sluggish at the outset of Game 1, something they overcame before the end of the period. A stronger start today will benefit the team, and an early lead would mean even more.
3. Make Most of Chances
Tuukka Rask has been very good in the postseason, so when the Hurricanes get opportunities to score, they need to make the most of them. If the team could have stretched its lead in what was a dominant second period in Game 1, perhaps the result would have been different.
WORTH A CLICK
WATCH, LISTEN & STREAM
Watch: NBC, FOX Sports Carolinas (postgame coverage)
Listen: 99.9 The Fan, Hurricanes app, Hurricanes.com/Listen