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Conference Final

Hurricanes' early miss magnified in Game 3 loss to Bruins

Could have taken lead 18 seconds into first period, turned momentum in Eastern Final

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes thought their effort was good enough. The result was not. And they know that is all that matters at this point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Though the Hurricanes can take some positives from their 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday, there weren't nearly enough. Now they trail 3-0 in the best-of-7 series and need a win in Game 4 at Carolina on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS) to stay alive.

"We're not going to beat them four times [Thursday] or the next game," Hurricanes coach Rob Brind'Amour said. "We have to try to win one period and see what happens. It's tough right now and I told the guys, 'This [stinks].' There is no way around it. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. We got kicked you know where and it's going to hurt for a while. 

"But then we come back tomorrow and pick the pieces up and give our best effort and see what happens."

The Hurricanes never came close to playing their best in losing the first two games in Boston. They came closer to it Tuesday but couldn't find a way to get more than one of their 36 shots on goal past goalie Tuukka Rask.

The turning point might have come 18 seconds into the first period when Teuvo Teravainen fired wide of an open net on a one-timer from the right circle when Rask was down and out of the play. A goal there would have given the already charged-up crowd at PNC Arena an additional boost and given the Hurricanes their second lead of the series.

Video: BOS@CAR, Gm3: Teravainen's open-net chance goes wide

Since trailing 2-1 after the second period of Game 1, Boston has outscored Carolina 12-3. 

Teravainen's miss set the tone for a frustrating period when the Hurricanes outshot the Bruins 20-6 and had four power plays, including a 4-on-3 for 1:09 and a 5-on-3 advantage for 45 seconds, but went to the locker room for the first intermission tied 0-0.

"Obviously you need to get something out of that period," Brind'Amour said. "Not getting anything was a little bit demoralizing. The game kind of flipped in the second, but you have come away with something with all that we had going on in the first and, obviously, we didn't."

Since scoring on their first power play of the series, the Hurricanes are 0-for-11 with the man-advantage. The Bruins are 5-for-12 in the three games.

"We had our chances," said defenseman Dougie Hamilton, whose unscreened point shot was Carolina's only shot on goal during the 4-on-3. "The power play wasn't good enough. It hasn't been good enough for a while, and we know they have a good power play and they keep beating us in the special teams battle."


[RELATED: Bruins vs. Hurricanes series coverage | Hurricanes' McElhinney plays well despite loss]


The Hurricanes decision to switch from Petr Mrazek to Curtis McElhinney (29 saves) as their starting goalie worked out pretty well. McElhinney couldn't be faulted for either goal.

First, Boston's fourth line capitalized on a turnover by Brock McGinn to produce a goal from Chris Wagner 1:21 into the second. Wagner was left alone in front to redirect Joakim Nordstrom's pass from the left circle for his second goal of the series.

Then the Bruins power play cashed in when Brad Marchand's backhand from the slot deflected off the glove of Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan to make it 2-0 at 6:28. 

De Haan's slap shot from the left circle slipped between Rask's pads to bring the Hurricanes within 2-1 at 13:48, but that was all Rask would allow. He made 10 saves and the Bruins blocked nine shots in the third period.

"The first two games, quite frankly, we weren't good enough," Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. "This one, we were good, but sometimes it saws off. They got the goals and then they shut us down pretty good."

Video: BOS@CAR, Gm3: Brind'Amour talks about dropping Game 3

The Hurricanes have been a nice story in qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2009, upsetting the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in seven games in the first round, and sweeping the New York Islanders in the second round. 

Maybe that's enough for them. 

That's a sentiment they'll have to fight against now facing Rask and a deeper, more-skilled team.

"We said before the game we wanted to show everybody what we were about because we hadn't done that for two games, really," Brind'Amour said. "I think we can feel good about the fact that we at least gave them a game. To me, we hadn't given them a game yet."

But no one has to tell Brind'Amour, who captained Carolina to the Stanley Cup in 2006, or any of the players that simply giving the Bruins a game isn't good enough. 

Not if they want to have any hope of getting past Game 4, let alone win the series.

"It was more of how we wanted to play, absolutely," Williams said. "It just didn't happen for us, and that stinks. That's the way it goes sometimes, but we're not going to go away quietly."

Video: Bruins hang on for win, grab 3-0 series lead

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