Adam Harris

Devils "Rock" Canes in Game One

Posted April 16, 2009

Ouch.  That was brutal. 

The build-up, the anticipation, the excitement, the hype...  All followed by the massive let-down.

The Carolina Hurricanes were chewed up and spit out on Wednesday night.  Dominated, owned, man-handled.  Call it what you will, the New Jersey Devils were a far superior team to the Canes in Game One.  We'll borrow the nickname of the Devils' home arena and say the Canes got "rocked" at The Rock.  Wednesday night at the Prudential Center was an embarrassing loss for a proud Hurricanes team.  I think - no, I know - the Canes are better than what we just witnessed in a 4-1 loss to the Devils.

Perhaps the Hurricanes are just "happy to be there."  Maybe the raised level of play that Caniacs enjoyed in the surge to reach the playoffs was the extent of the gusto this team possesses.  Is it possible that the Canes' ultimate goal for the 2008-09 season has already been achieved?  When you miss out on the post-season for two years (in particularly heart breaking fashion last year), maybe focusing on the big prize is shoved aside in favor of concentrating on the door prize.

It certainly didn't seem as if the Carolina Hurricanes came to Newark to contend for the Stanley Cup.  The Canes didn't appear to be a team full of heart, courage, fervor or determination.  Instead, the Hurricanes looked like a team that didn't belong in the playoffs at all.  They were outpaced in nearly every facet of the game. 

The Devils are clearly a more physical team than the Hurricanes.  Hard to find someone to argue that.  But, on Wednesday they were also the faster team, the smarter team, the grittier team, and the more disciplined team.  Each of those surprised me.  I wish that time of possession was still a statistic tracked by the NHL.  I bet the Devils would have had a 2:1 advantage in that category over the Canes in Game One. 

If you're looking for positives you can point to Cam Ward and Matt Cullen.  Ward made a handful of incredible saves while facing 39 shots; 30 shots in the first two periods.  Carolina could have lost this game 8-1, or worse.  There were plenty of good scoring chances for the Devils as the Hurricanes defense was soft and lethargic, while the back-check from the forwards left a lot to be desired. 

Meanwhile, Cullen finally got into a game after missing the last eight contests of the regular season with an injured foot.  He looked very much like the play-maker that centered the Canes' super-productive second line for much of the season.  After just two shifts in the first period, Cullen got on the ice six times in the second period, then had eight shifts in the third.  He told me after the game that Paul Maurice was easing him back into the line-up, but I tend to think Maurice was looking for that old Cullen/Whitney/LaRose magic as the game progressed and the deficit on the scoreboard increased.  After the familiar Canes' second line was back together from the second period on tonight, I suspect the 13/8/59 line is here to stay.

So, what now?  Cullen, Ray Whitney and Tim Gleason all told me after the game that this loss will be easy to put behind them.  I'm not so convinced.  The Devils made a pretty bold statement on Wednesday, "We're the better team."  New Jersey hopes that proclamation is ringing loudly in the Canes' ears. 

This series isn't over, far from it.  But the Canes better snap out of whatever haze they were in on Wednesday by 7:30 on Friday night.  Another performance like Game One, and 2009 is in the books.  Here's hoping Game One was the exception, and not the rule.

 

Adam Harris covers the Carolina Hurricanes for 99.9 FM The Fan & wralsportsfan.com.  He is in New Jersey for the Canes' opening round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs vs. the Devils

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • CBB: UNC at Boston College

    Today at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Today at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Today at 2:00 pm on WRAL-FM

NFL Scoreboard
Sunday, Jan. 22
Green Bay 12:05 PT1:05 MT2:05 CT3:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 北京时间1:05 MST3:05 EST2:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)15:05 ETNaN:�
Preview
Atlanta 
Pittsburgh 3:40 PT4:40 MT5:40 CT6:40 ET23:40 GMT7:40 北京时间4:40 MST6:40 EST5:40 CT3:40 UAE (+1)18:40 ETNaN:�
Preview
New England 
CareerBuilder (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1H. Swafford-1418
2tD. Lee-1318
2tD. Bozzelli-1318
4tB. Steele-1218
4tB. Harman-1218
6tM. Laird-1018
6tP. Mickelson-1018
6tG. Owen-1018
9tC. Kirk-918
9tC. Howell III-918
View Full Leaderboard
 
CME Tour Champ (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1C. Hull-19F
2S. Ryu-17F
3J. Song-15F
4tM. Martin-14F
4tB. Recari-14F
4tA. Jutanugarn-14F
7I. Chun-13F
8tS. Feng-12F
8tA. Yang-12F
10tL. Ko-11F
View Full Leaderboard
 
Abu Dhabi (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1T. Hatton-1318
2tK. Aphibarnrat-1218
2tT. Fleetwood-1218
2tD. Johnson-1218
2tM. Kaymer-1218
2tP. Larrazabal-1218
7tB. An-1118
7tD. Burmester-1118
7tP. Hanson-1118
7tJ. Wang-1118
View Full Leaderboard
 
Mitsubishi Chmp (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1B. Langer-1518
2F. Couples-1418
3K. Triplett-1318
4tD. Toms-1218
4tL. Janzen-1218
4tO. Browne-1218
4tD. Waldorf-1218
8tT. Pernice, Jr.-1118
8tR. Mediate-1118
8tG. Sauers-1118
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Saturday, Jan. 21
Australian Open (ATP/WTA)
Third Round
(13) R. Bautista A7 66 77 6  
(21) D. Ferrer5 78 63 4  
(30) P. Carreno Bu4 6 4 6 2 
D. Istomin6 4 6 4 6 
(3) M. Raonic6 77 3 6  
(25) G. Simon2 65 6 3  
(6) G. Monfils6 77 6   
(32) P. Kohlschrei3 61 4   
(15) G. Dimitrov3     
(18) R. Gasquet2     
Fourth Round
(4) S. Wawrinka 
A. Seppi 
(1) A. Murray 
M. Zverev 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Saturday, Jan. 21
Australian Open (ATP/WTA)
Third Round
(12) T. Bacsinszky3 7 4   
(22) D. Gavrilova6 5 6   
(5) K. Pliskova4 6 10   
J. Ostapenko6 0 8   
Fourth Round
(8) S. Kuznetsova 
(24) A. Pavlyuchen 
(13) V. Williams 
M. Barthel