‘We’ve done it before:’ Canes, down 2-0, ready for boost from home fans
The Boston Bruins see no reason for significant changes with the way the Eastern Conference finals are going against the Carolina Hurricanes.
At the very least, the venue will be different for Game 3 as the Bruins look to put a stranglehold on the series Tuesday night at PNC Arena. Boston won each of the first two games at home.
“We know that they play well there (in Raleigh),” Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. “Refocusing, resetting and getting ready to play in a hostile environment, and we just plan to play to our standards and our culture.”
The Hurricanes returned home for the second time in this postseason facing a 2-0 deficit. They overcame that in the first round against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
“We’ve done it before,” Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. “Experience, that’s what we lean on right now.”
Yet they didn’t like the way they played in the two games at Boson. The six-game winning streak that Carolina put together vanished as the Bruins won twice by a combined 11-4 score.
One of the priorities for the Hurricanes is to put the Bruins through some adversity.
“We’re certainly going to make it as tough as we can on them, and it won’t be easy,” Williams said. “Our identity hasn’t been established in this series, so far.”
The Bruins are aware that the Hurricanes haven’t come this far just to fade away. So that’s the part that’s a bit of the unknown for Boston.
“Teams don’t make it to this round if they don’t have their tough group of guys,” Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask said. “It’s 2-0, that’s good. We took care of business at home, which is what we wanted to do, now try to transfer that on the road.”
Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek has a similar outlook.
“It’s 2-0. We’ve been in this situation before,” Mrazek said. “We know what we can do at home.”
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour has been vague about his goalie situation for Game 3, though he has pointed out multiple times that the core of the problems in Boston weren’t related to goaltending.
Mrazek was injured in the second-round series against the New York Islanders, and Curtis McElhinney played in Carolina nets in the final two-plus games as the Hurricanes produced a four-game sweep.
Now the Hurricanes must deal with Boston’s onslaught of offense. The Bruins have secured contributions up and down the lineup in the postseason.
“Depth scoring is so crucial for playoffs,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. “Most of the time when you see a matchup, the two big lines are going head to head, that kind of washes each other out typically over a series, and then you have the depth scoring that comes into play, and that’s what wins you games. ... We want to bottle that up and continue to use it to our advantage.”
The Bruins have had 21 players post at least one point in this spring’s playoffs.
“I think this year because we’ve scored a lot more up and down the line,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It’s just a little easier to roll lines and look for your matchup but roll lines and not have to overextend skill guys.”
The Bruins are expecting to see an improved Hurricanes team.
“You don’t get here by accident, so we know that they are going to be better next game,” McAvoy said.