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Two-Thirds of a Great Game

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
I don’t think I need to harp on what a tough loss that was for the Canes last night.  A third period like that one is made all the more frustrating after witnessing the two periods that preceded it, which were, for me, by far the Canes’ best of the season.
Paul Branecky
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Why the collapse?  I think it goes back to the issue of confidence.  They were extremely confident in the first two periods.  Guys like Eric Staal were barreling into the offensive zone and putting defensemen on their heels.  Players were making smart plays in the neutral zone and winning battles to start rushes.  Michael Leighton was making tough saves to keep it close before the Canes initially pushed ahead.  The team was shooting the puck on the power play, and shooting it well.

Once the Flyers scored in the beginning of the third period, however, doubt seemed to take over. The “Oh no, what if?” mentality that Paul Maurice identified on his first day here and has been trying to get rid of ever since popped up again, replacing the determination of earlier in the game.  All the good things they had done were gone, as it seemed like they were playing scared instead of playing their game.

What the Canes can take from last night’s contest is that, when they are playing their game, it’s something to behold.  They need to build on that rather than dwell on the collapse and lose the confidence they started out with.  Getting that belief back is a process that has been ongoing for several weeks, and the team needs to continue to take steps forward in that regard.

As you might have guessed after seeing the postgame quotes video on the site this morning, CanesVision is on the road for this trip and will have some footage from practice later in the day to go along with the Maurice audio that Kyle Hanlin is sending from the road.

From that, we’ll see what the mentality of the team is heading into a winnable game against the New York Rangers, who have won only two of their last five games, including two shutouts for the opposition.  We’ll also be able to see how injuries are coming along.  Tim Gleason, Dennis Seidenberg and Cam Ward could all return tomorrow.  The two defensemen in particular could help take some workload away from Joe Corvo and Joni Pitkanen, both of whom played over 30 minutes last night.

Speaking of CanesVision, they’ve posted some sights and sounds from Philadelphia that will make you hungry here, and they’ll also be doing a series of “Day in the Life” videos tomorrow, with color commentator Tripp Tracy as the subject.

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