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Game 3 Preview: Bruins vs. Hurricanes

Canes in search of first win in Eastern Conference Final

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs game previews are presented by Visit Raleigh.

The Carolina Hurricanes are seeking their first win of the Eastern Conference Final when the Boston Bruins come to town for Game 3.

The Bruins outscored the Hurricanes 11-4 in Games 1 and 2, putting the Canes in their second 2-0 series deficit of this postseason.

"You have to squeeze the other team a little bit," Justin Williams said on Monday. "They've squeezed us twice, and we need a little bit of push back."

Lessons from Game 2

Game 2 was one to forget for the Hurricanes.

But they at least had to look at a set of video clips prior to Monday's practice and then react to it once more with the media afterward.

"They haven't allowed us to do what we want to do, but shame on us for not being able to instill our game," Williams said. "We just need to rediscover that and redefine ourselves."

Despite a decent start, the Hurricanes seemed paralyzed from their first power play and then fell behind on a goal Petr Mrazek would like to have back. The Bruins stretched their lead to 2-0 on the power play before the end of the period, and the Canes never recovered.

"We've talked about it and addressed it, and now we have to turn the page," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We have to get to our game, play our game and then see what happens."

Familiar Territory

The Hurricanes are the 31st team in NHL history and the fourth in the last 10 years to have each of their first three playoff series begin 2-0.

Unfortunately for the Canes, two of those three series have begun 2-0 in the opposition's favor. The Washington Capitals gained a 2-0 series advantage in the First Round before the Canes evened the best-of-seven slate with two consecutive wins at home.

They'll be looking for the same outcome in the Eastern Conference Final.


"I think it's totally different the way this has gone," Brind'Amour said. "We didn't play a bad game necessarily to be down 2-0 in the Washington series."

Perhaps the Hurricanes can draw on that experience of just a few weeks ago.

"I think there's enough pride in that room that they're going to dig in for a little more. Being at home is going to help," Brind'Amour said. "We're going to have to execute a lot better if we want to continue playing."

"Playoffs is all about putting pressure on the other team," Williams said. "We have to get a win tomorrow night, first of all, and then push back a little bit and see how they respond."

A Starting Goaltender?

Mrazek or Curtis McElhinney?

That was the question du jour for the Hurricanes, but they weren't tipping their hand.

"We haven't finalized anything, but we've certainly discussed the options," Brind'Amour said. "We're down 2-0, but it's not because of goaltending in our end."

Mrazek, who manned the "starter's crease" in practice on Monday, surrendered six goals on 25 shots in Game 2. The loss was in no way a reflection on his play, but a goaltender swap has to at least be in consideration to spark the Canes for Game 3. McElhinney won three straight games and posted a 1.56 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in the Second Round against the Islanders.

"We're 100 percent on board with anybody that goes in the hockey nets," Williams said, laughing off a question about confidence in Mrazek. "Whoever is going in is going to do a great job, and we're going to have a great game."


1. Rediscover Identity

The Hurricanes need to find their game and rediscover what has brought them to this point. If they can get to their game, they can beat anyone, including the Bruins.

2. Hound the Puck

A hallmark of the Hurricanes' identity is their ability to hound the puck in being aggressive and relentless on the forecheck. Force the Bruins' team defense to chip the puck out of the zone, and then come right back at them.

3. Surge Together

It's going to take everyone, from the goaltenders to the defense to the forwards to the fans. Surge together, as the Canes try to work their way back into this series.


The Eastern Conference Final arrives in Raleigh! Here's a quick rundown of what you can expect for Game 3. PNC Arena parking lots are set to open at 1 p.m. A South Plaza Party officially kicks off the festivities at 5 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins around 7:30 p.m. with warm-ups.

Giveaway alert! "Eastern Conference Final" rally towels are waiting for you on your seat.

And, y'all, check out this siren sounder list.

Tweet from @NHLCanes: Siren Sounders for Game 3! @Panthers LB @LukeKuechly Retired @NBA star Rasheed Wallace#Panthers RB @run__cmc #TakeWarning

Did you know? The 50/50 Raffle is back! The Hurricanes Foundation is awarding non-cash prizes each week from now through early June. The grand prize - half of the cash jackpot - will then be drawn on June 13, and all ticket purchasers (including non-cash prize winners) are still eligible to win. Learn more about how you can win big and also raise funds for children's health and educational needs throughout North Carolina.





Gameday Links


Watch: NBCSN, FOX Sports Carolinas (postgame coverage)

Listen: 99.9 The Fan, Hurricanes app,

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