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SportLuke DeCock: Familiar position for Hurricanes, albeit with unfamiliar stakes

06:45  11 may  2019
06:45  11 may  2019 Source:   latimes.com

Luke DeCock: Hurricanes refuse to go away, continue to win in spite of themselves

Luke DeCock: Hurricanes refuse to go away, continue to win in spite of themselves There was more than a whiff of fortune about this, the Carolina Hurricanes cramming two goals into 48 seconds of the third period and then hanging on for dear life, but it was entirely in keeping with their method and their madness. This team cannot be counted out. It refuses to go away. They have made it this far in the playoffs with stars that couldn't shoot straight, key players getting injured, without any answer for Alex Ovechkin and with a power play that hasn’t asked any questions of anyone. It almost seems like the Hurricanes have gotten this far in spite of themselves at times, scraping and scrapping their way to wins.

Luke DeCock . A familiar position for the Hurricanes , albeit with unfamiliar stakes .

The latest Tweets from Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock). News & Observer sports columnist. Penn grad. Southeast Div beat alum. Evanston native. Evertonian. NYC Marathon finisher. [email protected] #readlocal. News & Observer, Raleigh, NC.

Luke DeCock: Familiar position for Hurricanes, albeit with unfamiliar stakes© Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America/TNS Carolina Hurricanes Head coach Rod Brind'Amour looks on in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston on Friday, May 9, 2019. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY**

BOSTON - Here they are again: frustrated, aggrieved and discounted. While losing for the first time in six playoff games may have been a shock to the Carolina Hurricanes' system, the position they find themselves in now is not. If anything, it's all too familiar.

The aftermath of Thursday's Game 1 loss to the Boston Bruins has a lot in common with the aftermath of last month's Game 1 loss to the Washington Capitals, with the exception of an extra day off, which gave Rod Brind'Amour something else to grump about.

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Luke DeCock: Backcourt remodel on the fly unusual for UNC, but typical for college basketball today In the space of four days, North Carolina remodeled its backcourt on the fly, like the subject of some kind of HGTV show. 

Luke DeCock . Little’s sudden illness casts familiar shadow over UNC’s tournament hopes. Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney talks about the win over the New York Islanders. Luke DeCock . In unfamiliar position , Hurricanes have great opportunity.

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In both games, the Hurricanes felt they were the better team five-on-five, only to be undone by the opposition's power play. In both games, they felt like they got the short end of the officiating against a more respected opponent in a hostile environment. In both games, they thought they let a chance to steal a win on the road slip through their fingers.

Start breaking down the details, and the comparison starts to break down, not unexpectedly. From 10,000 feet, it looks pretty much the same.

"We've been in this situation before," said Sebastian Aho, who extended his goal-scoring streak to three games with an early power-play goal. "It's good we have that experience."

Maybe it is. Maybe the Hurricanes have no margin for error in this series, just like the Washington series, which despite their victory still came down to double overtime in Game 7 and could easily have gone either way. People forget that now, because of everything that's happened since. It wasn't exactly the invasion of Grenada.

Luke DeCock: Despite lead, Hurricanes still have yet to adjust to a very different series

Luke DeCock: Despite lead, Hurricanes still have yet to adjust to a very different series You need only to look at the scorelines - a goal scored about every half-hour - to see how different this series is from the last. Where the Washington Capitals offered time and space, the New York Islanders offer none. Where the Hurricanes were able to beat the Capitals with quantity over quality, they have taken a 2-0 lead over the Islanders with quality over quantity.

Luke DeCock . Hurricanes and Bruins, together on the 9s, like traffic and weather. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who played his first three NHL seasons for the Boston Bruins, talks about the challenge of facing them in the Eastern Conference finals after Canes practice

Luke DeCock . Hurricanes refuse to go away, continue to win in spite of themselves. Carolina Hurricanes Teuvo Teravainen talks with the media following the Hurricanes win over the Islanders By. Luke DeCock . In unfamiliar position , Hurricanes have great opportunity.

So this game may very well come back to haunt the Hurricanes, just as their overtime loss in Game 2 in Washington could have, their best chance to flip home-ice advantage in that series. Holding a lead, however tenuous, over the Bruins through two periods on the road is an opportunity carelessly squandered - and whatever complaints the Hurricanes still harbor over the officiating, they needlessly put themselves in a position for a few of those calls to be made.

Despite the late flurry of Boston goals that turned a one-goal game into a 5-2 win, the Bruins knew how close that was, how narrowly they escaped thanks to a potent power play that capitalized on the plethora of opportunities it was gifted. Take special teams out of the equation - a familiar refrain from the first round - and there wasn't much wiggle room for either side.

"They are who we thought they were, as far as their compete level," Bruins forward Chris Wagner said Friday.

Carolina Hurricanes savage Islanders on Twitter

Carolina Hurricanes savage Islanders on Twitter The Carolina Hurricanes have been beating the New York Islanders badly on the ice and are now doing so off it as well. The Islanders posted a GIF on Twitter Wednesday that showed Brock Nelson patting the head of Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney after a Josh Bailey goal tied the score at 2 in the second period of Game 3 between the teams. Tag. You're it. pic.twitter.com/XRbUz0oxv0 — x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 2, 2019 Carolina then ripped off three goals in the third period to win the game 5-2 and take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference second-round series.

Read Luke DeCock sports columns and opinions from your favorite local columnists in Raleigh, NC, and The Triangle area, provided by the Raleigh News & Observer. Luke DeCock . In unfamiliar position , Hurricanes have great opportunity.

Read Luke DeCock , a sports column and blog provided by Durham Herald Sun in Durham, NC. Luke DeCock . Among their final-four predecessors, these Hurricanes share 2006’s belief. Luke DeCock . In unfamiliar position , Hurricanes have great opportunity.

The general theme for the Hurricanes on Friday was putting all of that behind them, easier said then done with two days off and nowhere to go. They'll practice at the arena on Saturday, but needed the rest Friday, sticking to their established playoff routine at the risk of going stir crazy.

"The schedule is not good for me," Hurricanes coach Brind'Amour said. "I don't like sitting around hotels for two days. But again, that's stuff you can't control. We've got to control what we can control. We can't control calls or non-calls, we can't control the schedule. We'll control what we can control. The bounces, we've got to create our own. We've got to make our own noise."

The Hurricanes did that against the Capitals, fruitlessly forcing overtime in Game 2, turning their fans' noise at home into an insurmountable advantage, suffering through a Game 5 debacle on the road before Brock McGinn sent them into the second round.

They have been here before, even if not with these stakes, if not with an opponent as battle-tested as they are, if not in May. That's all new. They have work ahead. That part is not.

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Luke DeCock: Familiar position for Hurricanes, albeit with unfamiliar stakes
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