BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins own a 2-0 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, but they know it’s about to get a whole lot tougher with the series shifting to Raleigh for the next two games.
“I don’t think anyone has thought of the word ‘over’ yet,” veteran forward David Backes said Monday, before the Bruins boarded planes at Hanscom Air Force Base to make their trek south. “We held home ice in our building and now have to go into a hostile environment where they’re very good. We have to play an excellent game, an excellent road game to get one win closer to our goal.”
The Hurricanes are a perfect 5-0 at PNC Arena this postseason, outscoring their opposition 22-7 in front of their home fans. Carolina will try to impose their will early, and things may get even chippier than they were throughout Sunday’s Game 2 blowout win by the Bruins in Boston. But that’s not something that is causing Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy to lose sleep.
“I don’t worry about that to be honest. We can match up with anybody in that regard,” he said of Carolina’s physicality. “I do agree about the urgency; they haven’t lost at home and have played a strong game in their building. Being a younger team and newer to the playoffs, it’s fueled them a lot.
“I’d imagine it’ll be physical; they have been every game or have tried to. We’ll match that with our physicality and go from there,” Cassidy added.
But the Bruins are no slouches on the road. They’re 4-2 away from Boston this postseason, including a must-win Game 6 in Toronto in the opening round and their series-clinching victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the East semis.
Why are the Bruins so comfortable on the road? Cassidy gave credit to Boston’s veteran players.
“They’ve been there and won a cup on the road, played big games on the road. I don’t think it fazes them, where we play,” said Cassidy. “Our younger guys will feed off that calmness with them.”
Odds greatly favor the Bruins advancing to the Stanley Cup Final, but they know they haven’t won anything yet. The Bruins dropped both of their previous Game 3’s this postseason, and would like to end that trend this time around. They’ll try to strike early, as they did in this matchup’s two games in Boston, and take Carolina’s fans out of Tuesday night’s Game 3.
“The message won’t change a lot, in terms for the first two games this series. We don’t want to wait and see what happens; maybe that was the problem [those first road games],” said Cassidy. “We talked about that as the series went along in Toronto and Columbus, to set the tempo. Maybe that message has to get across earlier.”