After a 4-1 loss in Game 1, the Hurricanes have Boston right where they want them. Didn’t the Bruins see any of the New Jersey series?
In all seriousness, it’s another stinger, and certainly not how Carolina wanted to open the sequence. It’s also very different from the first round opener in that the Canes came to play this time around, but were punished repeatedly when they made careless mistakes.
“Our problem wasn’t with our legs, it was between our ears,” said Coach Paul Maurice.
Where to go from here? Some spoke of the “forget it and move on” approach, which I think was far more appropriate when applied to the first game against the Devils, but not necessarily last night. Against New Jersey, the Canes simply didn’t bring the kind of intensity they needed to, which made it almost impossible to make other adjustments to their overall game. If you don’t see it, how can you tweak it? It was more about flipping the master switch to “on” instead of pushing all sorts of other buttons.
In this case, last night’s game should serve as a learning experience. Maurice warned of how good the Bruins were in transition, and the Canes certainly understand that now if they didn’t before. Boston must have had more odd-man rushes in that game than New Jersey did in the entire first round, illustrating that crucial difference between the two. In addition to eliminating the mistakes that cause them – poor passes in bad areas, not getting the puck in deep - Carolina can also do a better job of skating back to help break them up once they occur.
The Canes may have only had one goal, but I think they can feel OK about what they were able to do offensively. If there was any doubt about why Tim Thomas is a Vezina Trophy candidate, it should be gone by now. Almost as it was with Martin Brodeur in Round 1, if they can keep generating chances, they’ll eventually fall. If the Canes eliminate a mistake or two and one of those shots gets past Thomas, it's a different game.
Maurice will use video sessions (extensive ones, I’m sure) to try and correct some mistakes, as the Canes will not practice today. Nonetheless, we should have some fresh audio later this afternoon.