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Will home ice be enough of an advantage for Hurricanes against Bruins?

Chip Alexander, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Hockey

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For the Carolina Hurricanes, things need to change. Quickly.

The Eastern Conference finals shift to PNC Arena for the next two games, meaning the Canes will have home-ice advantage and the ability to make their lineup changes after the Boston Bruins. In theory, having the "last change" at home can create more favorable matchups for the home team.

Can that help the Canes after back-to-back losses to the Bruins? After a 5-2 beating in Game 1 and then Sunday's 6-2 battering in Game 2, both in Boston, the Canes must find a way to create more offensive chances in Game 3 on Tuesday and better matchups could help.

But Canes captain Justin Williams more or less dismissed the "last change" advantage Monday.

"I don't think it has anything to do with matchups, to be quite honest which is a shame, because you've got to have something to rest on," Williams said. "But no, it has nothing to do with matchups. It has everything to do with how we play.

"Playoffs are all about putting pressure on the other team and seeing how they do with a little bit of pressure. So we have to get a win (Tuesday) night, first of all, and then push back a little bit and see how they respond. Just squeeze the other team a little bit. They've squeezed us twice. We need to do a little bit of punching back."

 

The Canes played well at times in Game 1, taking a 2-1 lead into the third period at TD Garden. They did not play well, in any facet of the game, much of Sunday's game in falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

"It looked like we were really tired," Canes coach Rod Brind'Amour said Monday. "We've only played two games in 10 days but I think the mental fatigue got to us. There was a real strong push by our guys for four months and it felt like we didn't have that extra gear you need at this time of year."

That's hard to fathom. The Canes are in the conference finals, eight wins away from the Stanley Cup. The Bruins seem enthusiastic enough about the situation, about the opportunity in front of them.

"We have to be way better and we all know that," Canes forward Warren Foegele said Monday. "It's the Eastern Conference finals and we haven't played the way we're capable of playing. And there's no excuse for that."

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