The Carolina Hurricanes head into a pivotal Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight in South Florida. The series has been tight but the difference tonight could be the power play for the Canes.
The series has been tight and with one bounce or two going a team’s way this series could shift at any moment. With that said the goaltending has been phenomenal and the ultimate difference between the winning team.
The job done by Sergei Bobrovsky has been extremely impressive in these playoffs but more in the first two games of this series. The Canes are known for peppering shots to the net and Bobrovsky has been up to the challenge.
The mentality of the Hurricanes cannot change despite seeing the Panthers victorious and Bobrovsky looking like a wall. This will be half the battle on the road for the next two games.
The key to coming back to Raleigh with the series knotted at two will be how the power play produces in the hot Florida sun.
Unlike other opponents and series, the Canes can count on having at least 2-3 opportunities with the man advantage. Florida is an aggressive team with some questionable hitting.
In other words, the Panthers cannot control themselves and with that, the Canes will have power play chances. So far in this series, the Canes have had 9 chances with the man advantage. Two of those chances were converted in Game 1.
In the playoffs this year, Carolina has five power play goals and have won all of those games except for Game 1 of this series.
It is easy to say that success on the power play will result in victories but with this team, the power play is truly the difference between the Canes playing average and rising to a title-level squad.
The big shift in these two games upcoming will be making the Panthers pay for their aggressive approach and sway the momentum built with the home crowd.
The lack of scoring on PP opportunities truly swings the feel of the game when the team fails to score. You can feel it in the building and you can see it in the players and coaches. The killing of these penalties also boosts the Panthers while confirming to themselves that any hit, whether legal or not, is worth it to sway the series.
Needless to say, Stefan Noesen will need to come home with a couple of goals if this trip to Florida is going to be a success.
Either way this is a one shift, one period, one game mentality from here on out for the Canes and the Caniacs. It all starts tonight at 8!