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Gold: Despite late penalties, Canes should be confident headed into Game 2

May 12, 2019

There are two ways to look at Boston’s Game 1 win on Thursday night.

On one hand, the Hurricanes could be discouraged, having a 1-goal lead entering the third period only to begin a march to the penalty box that resulted in a pair of power play goals and a 5-2 loss. But, at the same time, the Canes could take away a level of confidence knowing that before the rash of penalties broke out, they were better than the Bruins — at times, significantly so. Or, maybe both are true.

Carolina had a bushel of quality scoring chances, especially so in the second period, that they failed to convert. Some of those were due to the fantastic play of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, other times the Canes were to blame. If Brock McGinn bangs it home into the empty net on the short handed 3-on-2 chance, it’s 3-1 heading to the third and it’s an entirely different situation.

But, he didn’t, so the Canes didn’t and the door was left ajar for the Bruins to skate through it once the whistles started blowing against Carolina.

Not to absolve the Hurricanes from the turnaround, because you’re allowed to kill the penalty. There isn’t a law that says you must allow a power play goal, so that is one area for a turnaround. So, no, the Hurricanes didn’t lose the game because the referees were bad.  Carolina dropped game one because they weren’t good enough when it counted.

But, in spite of the disappointment, it sure did look like the Hurricanes were still a very confident team in their locker room coming out of Game 1.

* Jordan Martinook was the only member of the Hurricanes to not practice on Saturday. But, Rod Brind’Amour still expects Martinook to answer the bell. “He’s gonna play”, Brind’Amour said after practice. “I know he’s a little gimpy out there, but we want him in the line up if he can go. He’s going to be a game time decision as long as we’re playing.”

* In his place, Patrick Brown skated on the right side of the fourth line. And, speaking of….here’s what it looked like Saturday, which will bear a striking resemblance to Thursday night.

Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen

Niederreiter-Staal-Williams

Foegele-Wallmark-McGinn

Ferland-McKegg-Brown (though, expect Martinook to play here)

Slavin-Hamilton

Pesce-Faulk

Fleury-de Haan

Mrazek

McElhinney

* Boston won Game 1 in spite of missing defenseman Charlie McAvoy. In spite of the presence of Zdeno Chara, many believe that McAvoy is Boston’s best on the blue line. McAvoy served his suspension for a nasty hit to the head of Columbus’ forward Josh Anderson. He’ll return to the line up and Steven Kampfer will almost certainly come out. Kampfer, who’s scored all of four times this season — including playoffs — but who’s turned on the light behind the Canes net twice this year, played about 14 1/2 minutes in Game 1. Rookie defender Connor Clifton is almost certainly playing.

* Tuukka Rask has won four straight playoff starts. He’s allowed just six goals for a 1.50 GAA and stopped 140 of 146 shots on goal (.959 SV%).

* After being one of the top penalty kill units in the league during the regular season, the Canes are struggling shorthanded of late. Carolina has allowed a power play goal in four straight games and has erased just eight of 13 chances in that time frame (61.5%).

* The Bruins have scored a power play goal in eight of 13 games this post season. They’ve scored at least two in the same game four times including Game 1 (2-for-5) on Thursday.

* Storm Watch, starring Alec Campbell starts at 2:30 pm ET on 99.9 the Fan. John Forslund and Tripp Tracy will have the radio call at 3:00. WRAL-TV will have the national television broadcast with Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher. Official puck drop is 3:20.