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Conference Final

Hurricanes keeping focus on their game for conference final vs. Bruins

Carolina won't change style of play based on opponent

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes understand the challenge posed by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final, but their focus will be on their game.

The best-of-7 series begins at TD Garden on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"We have to play a certain way and it kind of doesn't really matter about the opponent," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said Tuesday. "If we're not doing what we do, we have no chance. So that has to be the first step. You need to know what the other team is doing to give yourself the best chance to succeed. The balance is trying to figure out how much of one vs. the other when you only have so much time and attention."

The Bruins reached the conference final with a 3-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Nationwide Arena on Monday. The Hurricanes haven't played since finishing a four-game sweep of the New York Islanders on Friday.

"Most of us were watching the game last night, and once it got to 3-0 I gave the old, 'Well, here we go,'" Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. "The opponent is known, information is going to be parlayed our way and we will do the best we can. We will be 100 percent prepared, I know that much."

Video: Brind'Amour on Carolina's success, team contributions

Carolina will need an answer for one of the top lines in the NHL. Forwards Brad Marchand (five goals, eight assists in the Stanley Cup Playoffs), Patrice Bergeron (five goals, three assists) and David Pastrnak (six goals, five assists) give the Bruins a scoring threat that always must be accounted for.

"They're showing up every night and creating chances and doing what they do best," Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said. "It's like (playing against) any other top line, taking away time and space, playing in their end, making them play defense."

The Bruins have a foundation of playoff-tested veterans. In addition to Marchand and Bergeron, forward David Krejci, defenseman Zdeno Chara and goalie Tuukka Rask were part of Boston's 2011 Stanley Cup championship team, as well as the 2013 team that lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

Carolina will have three players who have won the Cup in its lineup: Williams, who won it with the Hurricanes in 2006 and the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014; Staal with the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins; and forward Teuvo Teravainen with the 2015 Blackhawks.

"They have a championship pedigree," Williams said. "Their core has won, their core is proven. They're hungry and obviously motivated. I'm looking forward to the great challenge."

The series will begin with two games in Boston, but Brind'Amour isn't overly concerned about the Bruins having the advantage in matchups.

"You look at the road records of most teams and they're pretty good," he said. "It's nice to know when you have that last change that you can for sure get what you want, but at the end of the day the teams playing at this time of year have good players. Everybody should be able to play against everybody."

For the second day in a row, goalie Petr Mrazek practiced. He has not played since leaving Game 2 against the Islanders with a lower-body injury.

Mrazek is 5-3 with a 2.22 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts in nine playoff games. Curtis McElhinney, who replaced Mrazek during Game 2, is 3-0 with a 1.56 GAA and .947 save percentage in three games.

Brind'Amour said he has begun discussing the options for a Game 1 starter with goaltending coach Mike Bales.

"We've got to make sure both guys are 100 percent," Brind'Amour said. "That obviously trumps everything. It seems like they're both feeling good. We will sit down (Wednesday) and kind of hash it out. It won't be more than a 10-second conversation to be honest with you. Whatever way we go, we will be happy with it."

Micheal Ferland, out since Game 3 of the first round with an upper-body injury, saw a doctor Tuesday and Brind'Amour said he hopes the forward can play Game 1 of the conference final.

Jordan Martinook did not practice Tuesday after leaving practice early Monday. A lower-body injury has limited the forward to eight of Carolina's 11 playoff games. Brind'Amour said the forward was in "maintenance mode."

Forward Saku Maenalanen, who missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, practiced in a yellow no-contact jersey.

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