First to be clear, I am not saying what happened in the third period was okay. It was not.
And I am not suggesting that fans should feel really confident that majestic turnaround is now teed up.
But I think this team deserves a chance to at least make a statement after game 4, and I think fans should even cautiously hold out a small amount of optimism. As I said on Twitter after the collapse on Monday, the Hurricanes have a storied history of converting bad playoff situations into exhilarating triumphs.
On a smaller humbler note than ‘exhilarating triumphs’, today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers four legitimate (in my opinion anyway) reasons for optimism heading into game 5.
1) Really just need a bit more of the same
By no means were the Hurricanes dominant in game 4 even in the front part when things were going well, but they were competitive and good enough to climb to a 2-0 lead with a few near misses that could have made the lead even more. So a win in game 5 is not seeking something that we have not already seen. A win in game 5 just requires the Hurricanes to do similar to what they did in game 4 but also close it out. That will not be easy, but at the same time, it is not a big stretch either.
2) Jaroslav Halak showed signs of weakness that could be exploited
The third period collapse rightfully is garnering all of the attention coming out of game 4, but I think an equally interesting story line is the Canes lack of a killer instinct. Halak looked very shaky after the Hurricanes’ second goal. He had a save where he was not sure if he had the puck and was looking behind him. He also had another save where he did not seem to track a shot at all but was lucky enough to get hit by it. After that series, the Canes had not one but two odd man rushes. In both cases, the Canes player with the puck decided to pass, and the Canes did not get a shot on net. Especially the play that saw Niederreiter try to feed Necas on the back door, passing might have been the best play. But with Halak struggling and the ice yielding bouncing pucks left and right, I cannot help but wonder what might have happened if the Hurricanes instead tested Halak with even decently placed shots. If the Hurricanes can climb out to a lead again, might they be able to apply pressure and crack Halak? If so, the series changes with the Bruins having a grand total of 17 games of NHL experience between the two other goalies still on the roster.
3) A back-to-back set
Being down 3-1, I really like the fact that the next two games are back to back. If the Hurricanes can somehow find a way in game 5, might momentum carry over with the short turnaround? If the Hurricanes can find a way to win game 5 and that mojo carries over to to a game 6 win too, all of a sudden the series heads to a winner takes all game 7.
4) Leadership and heart
As much as Monday’s collapse was a huge disappointment with the potential to be catastrophic for the 2019-20 season, my bet is that this team has enough leadership and heart that at a minimum it will go down fighting in game 5. The team has shown resiliency and heart before, so I do not think it is crazy to expect the same here. And if the fight is there, I think the potential for a win is as well.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Which, if any, of my potential reasons for optimism gives you the most hope?
2) Who has additional reasons for optimism heading into game 5 and/or for the rest of a longer series?