BOSTON, MASS. – Drama, intrigue and attention are not new things surrounding the Carolina Hurricanes following Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Final.
All that increased exponentially for the Hurricanes following a 6-2 blowout loss to the Bruins at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon.
That result put them down 2-0 in the series that now returns to resume at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Tuesday.
Five different scorers led by Matt Grzelcyk, who scored twice, simply swarmed and smothered Carolina netminder Petr Mrazek (19 saves) and his defensive corps that played surprisingly passive.
Offensively, the Hurricanes were able to put two goals in during the third period, one from Justin Williams and Teuvo Teravainen.
But they just didn’t test Boston goaltender Tuuka Rask (19 saves) as much as they needed to.
“It’s always difficult to play against good teams,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“We weren’t helping ourselves. We’ll let this one digest and then move forward.”
Taking it all in
There was so much excitement hovering around the team following a four-game sweep of the New York Islanders that many hoped it would translate into early success against Boston.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the script has played out so far.
Despite a valiant start in Game 1 that looked as though that winning momentum would continue, it eventually ended up in a frustrating 5-2 loss.
With two days of rest and opportunity to work on the power play, a stronger start in all facets of the game might have made the difference.
Unfortunately, it didn’t.
Not only did Carolina fail to convert on four power play opportunities, its penalty kill couldn’t deny the Bruins of either of theirs.
Boston simply outplayed the Hurricanes from the start, winning 58% of all draws, taking more pucks away, blocking more shots, and taking advantage of its opportunities throughout.
“We got off our game,” Brind’Amour pointed out.
“Give them credit – there’s a reason that we got off our game – they’re playing their game and we haven’t gotten to ours.”
We’re still alive
This is not a new situation for Carolina.
They trailed the Washington Capitals 2-0 in their opening-round series before erasing that deficit with two wins at home.
Nothing to panic about, not just yet.
“Two different series, but a lot of similarities in how we compete, I think,” Brind’Amour concluded.
“The score here, this night, the score felt worse than it actually was. When you look up and we’ve only given up 25 shots, it felt like 80. So, it feels a lot different because I think the quality (of shots) has been better, (goals) that we’ve given up is better, and that’s not a good sign. We’re gonna have to regroup. Whether you lose 1-0 or 2-1 in overtime, or 10-0, it really doesn’t matter. You think about the next game and we’re still alive.”
By the way, according to NHL records, only the 2011 Bruins (CQF and SCF) and 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins (CSF and SCF) have overcome a 2-0 deficit to win multiple series in a playoff year, and both won the Stanley Cup.
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport