There's only one way to look for the Rochester Americans and that's straight ahead into Sunday's Game 2 at Blue Cross Arena against the Toronto Marlies.
Toronto won Game 1 by a 4-1 score Friday night. Tage Thompson picked up the lone goal for the Amerks.
By the letter, here are where improvements can be made in their attempt to even the series:
A is for adjustments on the power play. With potentially lethal one-timers from both circles, the playmakers need to find the likes of Thompson and Victor Olofsson to make this happen. Avoiding the shot blockers, in all situations, is also important. Toronto clogged the shot lanes very well on Friday.
M is for matching the poise shown by the defending champion Marlies in the face of first-period adversity. Tough moments are bound to happen, they just can't lead to emotional let downs and unforced errors.
E is for experience, energy, and evening the score. They all know what to expect now, so empty the tank and go get it. Tweaking the fourth line may be warranted for the sake of slightly more skill. Toronto isn't going to run them out of the building physically.
R is for Rasmus (Asplund) and his ownership of game one chances gone wrong. His presence throughout his first North American playoff game was nearly everything you could have asked for, now he just needs to deliver, for himself and his linemates.
K is for Kasimir Kaskisuo. The Toronto netminders' regular-season numbers weren't great, but he found a groove in the final five games and now has allowed only seven goals in his last six appearances. The only Amerks goal was a snapshot of what needs to happen more - Taylor Leier with a big time screen, leaving the goaltender helpless to Thompson's shot (Oh and by the way, Thompson now has seven goals in nine games with the Amerks).
S is for Sunday, a successful day of the week on which Rochester went 6-1 during the regular season. It should also be for Smith, as in C.J., who could have easily played the role of hero. Breakaways, 2-on-1s, stripping pucks to turn nothing into something. Smith was all around it Friday, and a reoccurrence of that could turn this series in a hurry.
Tickets for Sunday's 3:05 p.m. faceoff are on sale now. Game 3 of the Calder Cup Playoffs quarterfinals series on Wednesday and Game 4 (if necessary) on Friday will air on MSG in both the Buffalo and Rochester markets.