Slow start dooms Carolina in Game 6
Posted May 13, 2009
How important was it for the Carolina Hurricanes to light the lamp first in Tuesday night’s Game 6?
Heading into the contest, Paul Maurice’s team was a perfect 5-0 in the playoffs when it scored before its opponent, and just 2-5 after falling behind 1-0.
With that in mind, and a deafening home crowd in its ear, there might have been cause for concern about the Canes coming out with an overabundance of aggression, but certainly not a lack of it.
Unfortunately for the fans, players and coaches alike, it was the latter that plagued the home team for the game’s first five minutes.
“I think it was flatness,” Tim Gleason responded when asked about the reason for the slow start. “I think we were a bit nervous. I think, compared to the last home game we had here, it was a total difference.”
Winger Tuomo Ruutu was in agreement with the Canes’ most rugged defenseman.
“I don’t think we were right in the beginning – I don’t think we had enough will.”
While the Canes were flat, the Bruins were rolling.
Before many fans sat down in their seats after the national anthem, former Hurricane Mark Recchi had his Bruins team up 1-0.
Just minutes later, the Canes’ deficit was two, compliments of a Steve Montador slap shot off of a spectacular between-the-legs drop pass from David Krejci.
“Every team’s going to tell you that they want to score the first goal,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his team’s 4-2 win Tuesday night. “You feel a lot more comfortable. That first goal made us feel confident and then we got that second one which, again, it just seemed like we had lots of confidence.”
While Boston was flying, the Canes were left searching for their game – for the simple plays that were so successful for them in building a one-time 3-1 series lead.
“Where we get ourselves in trouble ... is that we open our game up before we have to,” Maurice said after his team’s Game 6 loss. “We just do some things that are higher risk ... instead of driving at the net, [we try] to pass through a seam, through a crowd of people – it just doesn’t work for us.”
Carolina has worked itself out of several precarious situations already this postseason, but even a team that scored twice in the last 80 seconds of a Game 7, on the road, to keep its season alive, knows that giving up the early lead is anything but ideal.
“It creates a hole,” Eric Staal said candidly. “It’s not where we wanted to be and we’ve got to make sure that we don’t let that happen in Game 7 … because it’s a tough hill to climb after that.”
Thursday night the Hurricanes will take their third and final shot at eliminating the Bruins.
They say the third time is the charm, and the Canes will go a long way towards ensuring exactly that if they can get on the scoreboard first.