BEDFORD, MA — The Boston Bruins have been excellent on the road in the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes have been a perfect 5-0 at home. So, what’s going to give in games three and four in the Eastern Conference Finals?
This postseason, the Bruins are 4-2 in away games and have outscored their opponents 17-7 in the four games they have won. Head coach Bruce Cassidy attributes this to having such an experienced core group.
“Our veteran guys. They’ve been there; they’ve won a (Stanley Cup) on the road,” Cassidy said before to the team’s departure Monday at Hanscom Field in Bedford. “They’ve played big games on the road, so I don’t think it phases them where they play. And our younger guys will feed off that calmness with them.”
One of those older players who knows how to keep the emotions in check is David Backes. He’s confident that his team knows how to toy the line of confidence, without losing focus.
“I don’t think anyone has talked about the word ‘over’ yet, We held home ice in our building and now we have to go into a hostile environment where they’ve been very good and play an excellent game in order to get one win closer to our goal,” Backes said.
The Hurricanes have been so good down in Raleigh that not only have they not lost a single game there, they’re averaging 4.4 goals per game in those contests.
Although Boston looked to be the far superior team in game two, beating Carolina 6-2, the Hurricanes have weathered that storm before. In their last series against the Washington Capitals, they also gave up six goals on the road only to return home and win the next game 5-2.
Carolina started that series down 0-2 as well, so don’t count out the Canes just yet.
“They’ve played a strong game in their building. I suspect the urgency level will be high,” Cassidy said. “Being a younger, newer team to the playoffs, that has fueled them a lot. I hear it’s real loud in there – I’ve been in there when it’s loud, so we’ll anticipate that atmosphere.”
Bruins winger David Pastrnak also anticipates a strong start from the Hurricanes, and harped on the importance of a strong start to combat the intensity.
“To try and get the first goal is obviously big. The crowd is always the seventh player, so we try to take them out of the game right away,” he said. “Those first two games are behind us and we are going there with the mindset that it’s 0-0 again and we want to win the next game.”
Part of the reason Cassidy feels so confident playing on the road is due to his staff’s preparation. Not over-thinking matchups or making too many adjustments and just letting the Bruins play their style of hockey has allowed them to find success away from TD Garden.
“We don’t get into the line match game a ton anyways, so it’s nice to just roll your lines. I think the players just get into the game a little better on the road in that regard,” Cassidy said. “The message won’t change a lot. We want to be on time. We don’t want to wait and see what happens.”
Backes and Pastrnak are two guys that have thoroughly bough into that game plan, with the latter noting that they have a really good team, so they don’t need to change the way they play based on their opponent.
But Backes also knows that getting too comfortable could be the Bruins’ kiss of death.
“I think we’ve got a great mindset going into games, especially on the road, that we know we’re going to get the other team’s best and you better bring your best otherwise you can get embarrassed in somebody else’s building if you don’t bring your intensity or your A-game,” he said.
Game three is set for 8 p.m. ET in Raleigh, North Carolina where the Carolina Hurricanes will look to remain unscathed at home while the Boston Bruins will try and expand their series lead to three games.