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SCP '09 GAME DAY: THURSDAY MAY 14--CAROLINA AT BOSTON, 8PM ET

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davetherave


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Hurricanes confident going into Game 7

CHIP ALEXANDER/Raleigh News & Observer, May 14, 2009

BOSTON - Eric Staal stood in the Carolina Hurricanes' locker room at the RBC Center with a look of determination, his voice filled with conviction.

"We're going to come out with some good energy," he said firmly Wednesday. "In the playoffs, you need to leave games behind, no matter what happens, win or lose.

"For us, we're focused on getting the job done, getting a win, and not worried about everything else."

Coming after two consecutive losses that left Carolina with a win-or-die return trip to Boston for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, those were strong, confident words from the Canes' star center.

Then again, they were an echo of the assurances offered the day before Game 6 with the Boston Bruins.

More tentative than energetic in that game, the Canes fell behind 2-0 in the first five minutes Tuesday on Carolina's home ice. The Bruins went on to win 4-2, forcing Game 7 at 8 p.m. today at TD Banknorth Garden.

What's left to be said? Not a lot. The Hurricanes either win tonight and keep the Stanley Cup in their sights, or they have a bittersweet ending to their season and start facing the speculation about who returns and who won't for next season.

"It's Game 7. You want to play in those games," Staal said. "Obviously, we wanted to finish it off when we could, but it didn't happen. We look forward to Game 7, look forward to the challenge. You dream of playing in those games growing up as a kid, and it's going to be fun."

When they led 3-1 in the series, the Canes talked about theurgency of winning Game 5 andand finishing off the Bruins in Boston.

Now, the common refrain -- as if the Canes were trying to convince themselves of it -- is that that they gladly would have accepted and embraced a one-game, winner-take-all scenario before the series began against the Eastern Conference's top seed.

"Obviously we didn't want to put us in this situation, but here we are," goaltender Cam Ward said before the team flight to Boston. "We've got to enjoy it and have some fun and get on that plane with one mission: to win a hockey game."

The Hurricanes did that against the New Jersey Devils in the opening round of the playoffs.

Forced to a Game 7 in New Jersey, they pulled out a 4-3 last-gasp victory at the Prudential Center.

Staal had the winner, scoring with 31.7 seconds left and gliding along the boards with a huge smile on his face. Staal has nine playoff goals -- four against the Bruins -- and the Canes are 7-0 when he scores.

"I'm probably not the only one with stats like that," Staal said. "If I'm helping contribute offensively, there's a better chance our team is going to win, and that goes for a lot of the guys who are counted on in that respect."

Ray Whitney, the team's leading scorer in the regular season, also falls in that category of higher expectations. However, the veteran winger has no goals and one assist in the series.

There's also Tuomo Ruutu, a 26-goal scorer this season who has two assists against the Bruins. Or Erik Cole, who has not scored in the playoffs. Or Rod Brind'Amour, another Hurricane without a goal in 13 playoff games.

Canes coach Paul Maurice said Wednesday there could be some line changes and adjustments on defense, but he declined to name names. It's possible that veteran defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, a good puck-handler with big-game experience, could return to the lineup for the first time since playing in three playoff games against New Jersey.

Maurice said the Hurricanes must solve the "puck-control issues" in their zone and give Ward more help.

"We forced our goaltender to go post-to-post three times on 15 even-strength shots," Maurice said of Tuesday's loss. "It's the type and quality of chance against. I don't think we put Cam in a position to be the difference in the game."

But Tim Thomas was, in goal for the Bruins. Among his 31 saves were the kind of sparkling stops that should make him the Vezina Trophy winner.

"I'm trying to think of the last playoff game I saw where the goaltender wasn't the difference, and there hasn't been too many," Maurice said. "At the end of the day, you have to give your guy in the net the chance to be the difference, especially when you've got a goaltender like Cam that's capable of doing that."

With that said, it's back to Boston for the Hurricanes, for another elimination game.

"It's Game 7, do or die," Staal said. "Nothing else matters before this game, [or] what happened to get us there. We're there, both teams.

"I like the character we have. The fight and the compete level is right at the top of anyone I've ever played with. We just need to get it done."

Staal sounded determined, speaking with conviction. This time, a day before Game 7.

chip.alexander@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8945

PTFlea


Co-Founder
Co-Founder
Go Canes! Do it!

SensGirl11


Mod
Mod
GO CANES!!!!!!!!!

SensGirl11

SensGirl11
Mod
Mod
I do however, think that the B's will take it.

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
it is so hard to call game 7's (last night anyone 6-2 who called that?) i think the bruin will be fired up and they have to play the way they did last two games anything less gives the hurricanes the life they need... i am feeling a boston win tonight but i am also hoping it doesnt happen until we hit some OT

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
Marc Savard is ready to go tonight and i am wondering will maurice and francis have adjustments made to try and low down the bruins after the way the Bs have played last two games

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
a little bit tentative tonight for the bruins not as hard as the last 2 games making sure not to give up the early goal

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
Bitz scores on a big rebound boston 1-0

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
most of the work for the play was done by bitz a hard worked and well deserved goal for him

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
I see we have a tie game in Beantown...PPG by Seidenberg

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
bruins arent playing bad but they are not playing as hard as the previous games but still a solid game so far

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
powerplay for the bruins but they have only scored 2 in 20+ tries this series

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
teams are very close in shots in this period

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
12-11 overall...from what I am seeing intermittently, this looks like it's too close to call.

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
davetherave wrote:12-11 overall...from what I am seeing intermittently, this looks like it's too close to call.
I'm seeing 11-10 for the B's from nhl.com.

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
Veteran
Veteran
very close each team is doing their best to try and ensure they dont give up the next goal

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
Yeah Shabbs, the TSN announcer got the SOGs wrong...he said 12-11.

You know.

wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
SensGirl11 wrote:I do however, think that the B's will take it.

Well you picked Boston in the pool. Why are you rooting for the Canes?

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