As noted in my game recap, the Hurricanes current situation has many parallels to the Capitals series. In both series, the Canes lost the first two games to dig an early hole. But in the Capitals series, the Hurricanes rebounded and never looked back. In addition, the Hurricanes have experience rebounding from a lopsided loss. Against the Capitals, the Hurricanes lost 6-0 but rebounded in the next game to force a game 7.
Taking a longer look back in Hurricanes history, the current series looks a bit like two other series.
Rebounding and overcoming a hot goalie
I am on record from before this series as saying that a key to the series could be breaking Tuukka Rask. He continues to play incredibly well. The situation reminds me of the second round of the 2002 NHL playoffs. In that round, the Hurricanes matched up against the Montreal Canadiens and a goalie who seemed unbeatable. The Hurricanes won game 1 in that series, but then were stymied by Canadiens netminder Jose Theodore in games 2 and 3. When the Hurricanes were down by three goals late in game 4 and facing a goalie who seemingly was flawless, the chances of a series win seemed minimal. But then it happened. The Miracle at Molson saw the Hurricanes score three times in the third period to force overtime and then pull off the miracle. As significant as the win was, the effect on Theodore was also instrumental in what followed. From there, the Hurricanes stormed to a 5-1 win in Raleigh and then a resounding 8-2 win in Montreal. Seemingly in the span of a period, Theodore went from unbeatable to vulnerable. When a goalie suddenly tumbles, the effect on the entire team’s psyche can be affected. I continue to hold out home that the Hurricanes can crack Rask and net a similar result.
Running out of gas
On a much less positive note, the Hurricanes last trip to the Eastern Conference Finals has the potential to repeat itself. Leading up to that series in 2009, the Carolina Hurricanes had won too exhilarating series in 7 games heading into a match up against the Penguins. In that series, the Hurricanes were at least in game 1 losing 3-2. But from there the team unraveled. The Hurricanes lost game 2 in Pittsburgh by a 7-4 score. And home ice did not offer a rebound. The Canes lost game 3 at home by a 6-2 margin and lost game 4 by a 4-1 margin. As the series wore on, it became increasingly clear that the Hurricanes had just run out of gas. Did the Washington series just take too much out of the Hurricanes such that they are destined to be swept just like in 2009? Or will this team rebound?
What say you Canes fans?
1) Is this a weary Canes team that is destined to be swept after a successful? Or is this a team that is ready to rebound possibly based on cracking a hot goalie?
2) What do you see as the keys to winning games 3 and 4 at home and climbing back into the series?