Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hurricanes-Bruins Game 7 thoughts

Part of me is hopeful. The underdog Carolina Hurricanes will find the magic needed to win game 7 against the Boston Bruins, win the series, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The other part realistic. The Hurricanes had 2 chances to dust off the Bruins, lost both games, and now face an avalanche of momentum from Boston. The Hurricanes are done.

The team has been a Jekyll and Hyde routine as well. In their 3 losses, the Hurricanes have been dreadful. Sloppy coverages, missed assignments, shaky goaltending. In the 3 wins, the Hurricanes had jump, jam, shake-your-head amazing goaltending.

Which one shows up in game 7 tonight in Beantown?

In 2006, being realistic meant the Hurricanes had a shot against anyone they played. That year, they won the Stanley Cup. In 2009, being realistic means the Hurricanes need to play their absolute best to have a shot. They can beat this Boston club--they've done it 3 times in this series already. Problem is, they have also lost to this Boston team 7 times this season (combined with the regular season games). The Hurricanes have been outscored by Boston 15-13 in this playoff series, but in the regular season, Boston crushed Carolina. The 18-6 goal differential in the four regular season games makes one wonder how the Hurricanes dented the net 13 times in the past six.

OK, how does Carolina beat Boston with all the chips in the middle of the table? Here's how:

1-Cam Ward must be a wall. He has been brilliant at times, and average at others in this series. He must be brilliant in Game 7.

2-Pucks in deep. Carolina can generate so much with their speed, getting pucks deep into the Boston end will enable them to have a chance at creating offensive opportunities.

3-Keep your cool. The Hurricanes marched to the penalty box in game 5 like they were giving away free Bentley's in there. Stay out of the box, and let Boston make the mistakes.

4-Relax and have fun. Carolina is a relatively young hockey team. Notice the wins in games 2-4. They played like they were using the house's money, not their own. Find that balance between calm and playful, and you'll see a Hurricane team meeting Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Final.

Prediction: Reality has just set in. Boston wins 3-2.

Sorry, Caniacs.

Mike Solarte

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