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Game 4 Preview: Bruins vs. Hurricanes

Canes look to stay alive in Eastern Conference Final

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

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


The Carolina Hurricanes will attempt to stave off a series sweep when they host the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

After winning six straight playoff games, the Hurricanes have dropped three consecutive contests to the Bruins, the most recent of which was a 2-1 final at PNC Arena on Tuesday.

"Being down 3-0 creates an opportunity for yourself, and that's the way you have to look at it. You have to instill a little bit of doubt. That's the first step," Justin Williams said. "We've been hit three times here. It takes four to knock us down. We're just going to keep showing up and see what happens."

Lessons from Game 3

Not satisfied with their play in Games 1 and 2, the Hurricanes aimed to rediscover their identity in Game 3. They did that, playing their best game of the series, which included a dominant first period, but they still came up just short in a 2-1 loss.

"These are tough ones to recover from. They are. That's just the human nature of it," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "[We'll] try to put everything behind us and know it's going to take that same effort plus something else to beat these guys. That's the challenge."

The Hurricanes registered 20 shots, including 12 on four power plays, in the first period alone, but they were unable to beat Tuukka Rask, taking a 0-0 score into the intermission.

"We had a lot of good looks and a lot of good chances," Jaccob Slavin said. "Rask made some really good saves, too."

Curtis McElhinney was given the nod in net, and he turned away 29 of 31 shots he saw. The Canes' veteran netminder owns a 1.70 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage in four games this postseason.

"He's been very good for us and was good again last night. That was a great goaltending duel. They were going back and forth making big, big saves," Brind'Amour said. "Are we going to play him tomorrow? Probably, but we haven't made that decision yet. There's a pretty good chance he'll be in there, but you never know."

Learning From Someone Who Has Been There Before

Just four teams in NHL history have been able to overcome 3-0 series deficits.

Boston was involved in one of those series. The year was 2010, and Philadelphia took the series in seven games to become the third team to erase such a deficit.

Justin Williams was involved in the most recent of those series. In 2014, Williams and the Los Angeles Kings won four straight games against the San Jose Sharks in the First Round, en route to capturing the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers.

"The fact that he's lived it helps," Brind'Amour said. "We've got to figure out how to get that one game and get moving along. We'll rely on his leadership as we always do."

GAME 4 PROJECTED LINEUP

"We've definitely looked to him a lot this year. He's got us to the point we're at today," Slavin said. "I don't think we'd be here without his leadership, so to know he's been through this situation and he knows how to do it definitely gives a lot of hope to the guys in the room."

As slim as the odds might be, the Canes have a chance. It starts with a win in Game 4.

"We've gone to the well and found something in there every time. We've got a young group, an eager group that's ready and willing to show up every night," Jordan Staal said. "I have no doubt in my mind that everyone in that room is going to give it all they've got and then some. We're going to fight as much as we can until it's done."

"You know the toothpaste where you can always squeeze a little more out of it?" Williams said, referencing an analogy used by Brind'Amour. "We're going to try to squeeze as much as we can out of our toothpaste here. We've got plenty left in it."

One Game at a Time

"We're not going to beat them four times the next game," Brind'Amour said after Game 3.

He's right, of course.

The Hurricanes can't approach Game 4 with the mindset that they have to win four straight games; they have to approach it with the mindset that they have to win that game.

"The last game is always the hardest every time, and we're going to make it as hard as we can on them. That's all we're going to focus on," Staal said. "We're going to start with trying to win a game, raise some doubt and move from there."

It's the old "one game at a time" mantra that the Hurricanes have been operating under for the better part of five months now.

"I think hope is always a way better way to look at it. You're still playing," Brind'Amour said. "It's one game that has to get played, regardless. I think we'll look at it more on the side of, 'Let's see what happens if we can win one' and go from there."


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Focus on the Present

The Hurricanes can't magically get four wins tonight. Instead, they have to focus on the present. Take it one shift, one period, one game, one win at a time.

2. Hope, Not Fear

The Hurricanes have everything to lose, sure, but at the same time, they have nothing to lose. Embrace that approach and play as if there is no tomorrow.

3. Leave It All on the Ice

Regardless of the situation, Game 4 is being played. The remaining three games are strictly "if necessary." Empty the tank, get a win and move on from there.


AT THE RINK

It ain't over until it's over. Bring the noise, and let's keep this series going. Here's a quick rundown of what you can expect for Game 4. 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! "Bunch of Front Running Jerks" rally towels are waiting for you on your seat.

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.


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