NHL Playoffs: Bruins hope to stop skid tonight against Hurricanes
By Howard Ullman
BOSTON ó Less than 12 hours after returning home in the dead of night, the Bruins were on the ice Saturday, skating hard and searching for the style that made them the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
No time for rest now.
If the Bruins don’t figure it out soon, they will have plenty of time to relax. Boston has dropped three straight to the Carolina Hurricanes and will be facing elimination from the Eastern Conference semifinal series tonight in Game 5.
Boston dominated the opener at home 4-1 then lost the next three by a combined score of 10-3. Friday night’s 4-1 loss at Carolina gave the Hurricanes a commanding edge. The Hurricanes need only one more win ó with three chances in front of them ó to advance to the conference finals.
“You’ve got to be frustrated. If not, you don’t care,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the hour-long practice. Players are “probably angry at themselves for the way they’ve played so far.
“We have to play our game because right now that’s what’s costing us.”
The Bruins must play the way they did in winning their first five games of the playoffs ó beat the opponent to the puck, win battles in the corners and put more shots on net. They had only 20 in Game 4 against goalie Cam Ward.
The Bruins were 4-0 against the Hurricanes in the regular season, but plenty has changed. Carolina benefited from the acquisition of Jussi Jokinen and Erik Cole and was 17-5-2 in its final 24 regular-season games.
“We knew they were going to come out hard and play hard,” Boston forward Milan Lucic said of the sixth-seeded Hurricanes. “We knew they were a different team than what we faced in the season.”
The Hurricanes obtained Jokinen on Feb. 7 after he had scored six goals all season for Tampa Bay. He netted the go-ahead goal in the previous two playoff games and