Carolina at New Jersey, Eastern Conference quarterfinal, Game Two, 7:30 p.m. EST
NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) — After watching somewhat of a no-show
performance by his Carolina Hurricanes in the opening game of
the playoffs, Paul Maurice was frank in saying that his
post-game comments weren’t all hugs and kisses.
Maurice wasn’t totally negative either after the New Jersey
Devils outworked the Hurricanes 4-1 on Wednesday night to take
the lead in the best-of-7 series that resumes on Friday.
“We did not prepare that way,” Maurice said Thursday after
Carolina skated less than an hour at the Prudential Center. “We
got a good dose of playoff hockey handed right to us last night
and that’s never something that you enjoy. They were really
good. That’s the bottom line. They played a heck of a game.”
The bottom line is that the Hurricanes didn’t play anything like
the team won 9 of its last 11 regular-season games.
Their errors were blatant.
Defenseman Tim Gleason jumped on the ice too early in the
opening minute and drew a penalty for too many players on the
Goaltender Cam Ward gave away the puck late in the first period
to set up the game’s first goal by defenseman Mike Mottau, who
had one just goal in the regular season.
Leading goal scorer Eric Staal was outworked by Zach Parise in
the corner early in the second period for the Devils’ second
goal, and veteran Rod Brind’Amour had his pocket picked by Brian
Gionta later in the period, setting up Patrik Elias’ tally.
“We played a regular-season type of game yesterday and they
played a playoff type of game and that was the difference,”
Carolina right wing Tuomo Ruutu said. “It was a big difference,
and it is a big difference. We can see the result. I mean it
wasn’t pretty yesterday. There is no time to waste. We have to
be ready for tomorrow.”
Ward echoed the feeling although he waited almost 14 hours after
the game to express it. He was abandoned by his team several
times in goal and he refused to talk about it after the game.
He calmly discussed it Thursday.
“I don’t think it is a time to panic, but at the same time we
realize we have to play better,” Ward said. “I am confident that
we will be able to rebound and play well. We’ve shown these last
couple of months the potential that we can play. Like I said,
last night is over and done with. We have to move on, that’s the
beauty of a best-of-7 series. Tomorrow, I believe we will be
Maurice said that his team’s biggest problem was not moving as a
five-man unit, either on offense or defense. Too many times, the
Hurricanes tried to force passes into areas that the Devils were
“In the playoffs it’s not about not wanting it,” Maurice said.
“It about getting it out of their bodies. It’s in their heads.
They know what they want to do and I’m trying to create an
environment for them to do it. The problem is there is another
team doing the same thing on the other side, and they did a
better job than us last night.”
Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner refused to say his club
dominated the opener, noting they only led 1-0 after the first
“One game doesn’t do a lot,” he said. “It puts you a step
Parise expects much better from Carolina on Friday.
“It’s a good team, a really good team,” he said. “They are here
for a reason. Everyone expects them to have a great game
tomorrow night, so we have to be ready, too.”
One key for the Devils was the play of the line of John Madden,
Jay Pandolfo and Brandon Shanahan. It had the checking
assignment on Staal, Eric Cole and Ruutu and limited Carolina’s
top line to four shots.
“It’s going to be harder,” Madden said. “Friday is going to be
harder. Sunday is going to be harder. It’s just going to get
harder. Even though we won Game 1, we have to figure how to win
Game 2, and when that is over win Game 3, until the series is
done. That’s the mentality we need to have.
“I don’t think they had their best game and I am expecting a lot
different tomorrow,” Madden added.