BOSTON — During their off day between Games 1 and 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Boston Bruins, and even this morning after their pregame skate, the Carolina Hurricanes vowed to improve after their 4-1 loss in Friday night’s Game 1.
With more determination in the neutral and offensive zones and an aggressive penalty kill, the Hurricanes made good on their vow with a 3-0 win at TD Banknorth Garden to tie the series at one game apiece. The penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4. And while Boston waited until the third period to start moving the puck better and actually rotating around a bit, Carolina had a hand in the Bruins’ man-advantage struggles.
“I think communication,” said defenseman Joe Corvo about the key to the penalty kill’s success. “Everybody’s talking to each other, got their head on a swivel and seeing what’s going on. And trying to take the time and space away from their players.”
It doesn’t hurt goaltender Cam Ward made 36 save, including 16 in the third period.
“(The Bruins are) very good at moving the puck. And Cam’s been our best penalty-killer and he has to be. He made a lot of big saves for us and when we get the puck on our sticks we try to get it down,” said forward Chad LaRose, who set up Matt Cullen’s shorthanded goal that put the Hurricanes up 2-0 in the second period.
The ‘Canes were so determined tonight that not even a lengthy video review and a ruling against them could derail their chug toward victory. With 0.2 left on the clock, LaRose knocked a rebound past Tim Thomas off the right bar and almost in. The puck might’ve crossed the goal line at some point in midair, but the decision went in the Bruins’ favor.
“Yeah, that was a long one, but they just tried to get the call right. It took a while, but whatever. We didn’t need it and just moved on from there,” said LaRose.
Concluded Carolina head coach Paul Maurice: “Most important, when were walking into the room — and I waited to walk in last — nobody was talking about it. It was gone. One or two guys made the comment, ‘it doesn’t matter.’ We didn’t agree with the final decision but it went through the proper channels and it is what it is. You’re going to have, over the course of what you hope is a very long playoff series, you’re going to have calls you like and calls you don’t. And I firmly believe that they do all even out in the end.”