Thursday, April 30, 2009
A two minute turnaround seals the Devils fate
The news of the Rangers elimination had travelled fast and the fans in Newark seemed to already be planning for the next round as the Big Apple's last hope for a Stanley Cup this year, the only thing was that Carolina hadn't quite been given the ending to the script.
The Hurricanes scored a one two punch in the waning moments of game seven to manufacture a dramatic come from behind win and an advancement to the next round of the playoffs. It was enough to silence the normally rambunctious residents of New Jersey who suddenly had kinship with their relatives across the River.
The Canes were on the losing end of a 3-2 score with but a minute and half to go in the game when they did the unthinkable, they put two much needed goals behind one of the best goaltenders that the game has ever seen.
And while the normally unbeatable Martin Brodeur had a two minutes from hell, he had a lot of company, a team that once made back checking and neutral zone shutdowns a religion suddenly allowed the Canes to take territory and positioning at will, setting up their dramatic comeback and turning a season ending loss into a playoff advancing victory.
The season was a back and forth affair for all of the seven games, two rather evenly matched teams exchanging goals, hits, scoring chances and mental errors. In the end, one team seemed to let up content in the thought that victory was theirs, while the other kept pushing against the anticipated outcome, changing their destiny for at least four more games.
The next round for the Canes won't be any easier, they move on to the NHL's success story for the year the Boston Bruins, a team that will be more than ready to change the tempo of the game and take the body at every chance.
Carolina will head into the next round feeling that anything is possible, and as they have shown it is, but one gets the feeling that the Bruins won't be making the same mistakes as the Devils did in those closing minutes. There won't be near as much open ice to work with and standing at the side of a net all alone is a luxury that won't be found deep in the Boston end of the rink.
Coming from behind is an exciting part of the game and something that the Hurricanes seem to have found comfort in, for the second round however, one suspects that playing with the lead might be the better strategy against the Bruins.