Carolina In My Mind

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With a promise to put the disappointing loss of Game 2 behind them, the Bruins headed down to Raleigh today to prepare for tomorrow’s pivotal Game 3 at the RBC Center where there will be a loud, supportive crowd of Hurricanes fans in dire need of silencing. Whether or not the B’s, facing their first sample of adversity in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far, can go down there and do it remains to be seen.

Certainly, Game 2 was nothing for anyone to be proud of. As well as Carolina played, and they brought the play to the Bruins all night long, there was something missing from the hometown team’s game, as well. It’s not just the ineffectiveness on the power play (they haven’t scored a goal on the pp since Game 2 of the Montreal series) or the carelessness with the puck or being knocked off the puck in so many of the one-on one battles, that’s concerning. There just wasn’t a whole lot of real fire or intensity shown and that worries me.

Y’see, I think the Bruins play best when there’s a little hate in the air. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to see the Rangers come to town because of the Sean Avery factor. Versus the Canadiens, there was little need to create motivation because it was a series so filled with controversy and hatred. There were grudges to be settled and emotions were very high. In that situation, at that level of intensity, the team played brilliant, hard hitting hockey and, of course, swept the series.

Against Carolina, however, that ultra-high emotional portion of the game is somewhat missing. There are no reasons to despise the Hurricanes, there is no Maxim Lapierre or Mike Komisarek. There is actually very little history considering the two teams haven’t met in the playoffs in a decade and, of course, a whole lot has changed since then.

It seems to me that Paul Maurice might be very aware of this idea, as well. It seemed he wanted to avoid the sort of physical confrontations that the Habs foolishly initiated, knowing full well how such actions can awake the sleeping bear. As such, Game 2 was a perfect result for the ‘Canes as they systematically turned the Garden into a silent vault of horror.

So that leaves the question: How does the team approach Game 3? Where do they find the drive they need to get rolling? Well, hopefully in guys like Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton, Chuck Kobasew and Patrice Bergeron. Mark Recchi. Guys who can supply the festiness needed to get a little hate on and turn up the volume on this series from a Bruins perspective. If it stays quiet, the fear remains that they might fall back to sleep.

I have no doubt that the Bruins are a more talented, deeper team than the Hurricanes and, hopefully, the atmosphere of the RBC Center will have as much affect on them as on the ‘Canes, amping up the play level where the Bruins will be at their best. We’ll see tomorrow night.

Oh, and by the way? Fuck James Taylor.

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