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Day of rest leaves 'Canes, Devils restless

by Brian Compton

"You're not going to sleep great tonight. You're going to get up and be wired tomorrow all day long. Every fan should appreciate that this is a lot of fun. This is as good as it gets."
-- Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice 

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For those Carolina Hurricanes who are expecting Paul Maurice to give his version of the Gettysburg Address prior to Game 6 at the RBC Center on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RIS), you're going to be awfully disappointed.

Your coach fully expects you to realize the position you're in: Win or go home for the summer.

That's the situation the Hurricanes fell into after Thursday's 1-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. The series has shifted back to Carolina for Game 6, where the Hurricanes must win in order to force a seventh and deciding game.

"I'm expecting an excitement," Maurice said on Saturday after the 'Canes skated at RBC Center. "That's what we've talked about. At the end of the day, it's not about money. We've got really great jobs. The pressure should bring out the good part of what we're going to go through tomorrow.

"You're not going to sleep great tonight. You're going to get up and be wired tomorrow all day long. Every fan should appreciate that this is a lot of fun. This is as good as it gets. I guess it would get better if this was Game 6 of the (Stanley) Cup Final, but the regular season can be such a grind at times. This is the exact opposite."

What this has been is arguably the most exciting and most evenly matched first-round series of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Two games have reached overtime, while another was decided in the final second of regulation. On Thursday, the Hurricanes peppered Martin Brodeur with 44 shots, only to see the Devils' goaltender stop them all. Cam Ward made 41 saves in the loss.

"At the end of the day, after you do everything right, you got to beat one of those two guys," Maurice said. "Either one of them can make both teams' best plans look somewhat foolish at times. There's the challenge. You don't want to change the way you shoot the puck based on the guy standing between the pipes. Both goaltenders have been very good."

They'll each have an extra day of rest before returning to action, with Game 6 slated for Sunday at 7:30 p.m. But the Hurricanes don't think the second day off will benefit either squad.

"I don't think it benefits us … it doesn't hurt us (either)," Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour said. "We'd probably like to get right back at it, but I don't think there's an advantage one way or the other.

"We're still playing ... that's the good news. Obviously, we'd rather be in their situation, but we'll just take it one game at a time here. Obviously, we know we've got to win. We'll just go out and give it all we've got."

Ray Whitney -- who has a goal and an assist in this series -- agreed with his captain that at the end of the day, the extra day in between games won't make much of a difference for either team.

"I don't think it means anything one way or the other," he said. "I think if you have some bruises, it gives you an extra day to rest. But I don't think it benefits anybody one way or the other."
One player it did benefit, however, was forward Sergei Samsonov, who missed Game 5 with a lower-body injury. Samsonov did not practice Saturday and his status for Game 6 is uncertain. Certainly, though, an extra day in between games can't hurt.

"It was good timing for him, for sure," Maurice said.

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