By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
RALEIGH — It’s been 10 years since David Krejci last skated in a playoff game in Raleigh.
But he certainly remembers what the Bruins, who are in search of a 3-0 series lead in their third-round series with Carolina’s favorite jerks, are getting into with tonight’s tilt at PNC Arena.
“This building gets pretty loud,” Krejci admitted. “And we haven’t seen the best from Carolina, so we expect their best.”
It’s an interesting dynamic with this Boston roster, too. Just three players from the ’09 team that went into Raleigh three times (and came out with just one victory) remain on the roster (Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara). And while this next wave of hopeful playoff heroes have conquered other buildings — Toronto’s nerve-fueled building twice and Nationwide Arena’s cannon in round two this postseason — there’s something that’s certainly different about Carolina.
It’s played out to a 5-0 record for the ‘Canes in Raleigh this spring, and with the games hardly being close for the opposition.
On the surface, this seems crazy. Insane. Ludicrous. Carolina’s not a hockey town, blah blah blah. But when the ‘Canes, these people pack the house. And they make it straight-up uncomfortable for the opposition. A sneaky 18,000+ capacity building, what makes PNC interesting is the way the lower-level is set up. It’s similar to the Bell Centre in Montreal, with a steep bowl basically putting fans on top of the action, and when they’re against you, that is one difficult position to skate in for a full 60.
And the B’s leaders that have been here before understand the importance of addressing such an uncomfortable atmosphere before puck drop.
“You always try to rely on the experience you gain over the years,” Bergeron offered. “We’ve talked about it— they’re a good team at home. they play hard, and they come out strong. The crowd is really into it as well. It is something we’ve talked about, and it’s something that needs to be talked about before the game.”
Factor in the Hurricanes’ obvious desperation — ‘Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour made a subtle half-guarantee of sorts in his closing remark to the media, saying he had a pretty good feeling tonight would be a good night for his team — and Carolina’s storm siren could chase the Black and Gold out of the building by the first period.
But this isn’t the B’s first rodeo this spring.
“With that being said, it’s nothing we haven’t seen, either,” Bergeron, whose team survived a do-or-die in Toronto in round one and eliminated the Blue Jackets in their own barn in the second round, reminded the assembled media. “We’ve been in Toronto, we’ve been in Columbus, where they were going and really relying on their home-ice.
“[Columbus] was a tough building to be part of, and everybody responded, so hopefully we can do the same thing.”
And that response is the only way to silence the wooing Caniacs from a Storm Surge that makes this is a series, and will come if the B’s stick to the blueprint that’s allowed ’em to rattle off victories in four of their last five contests away from TD Garden.
“We know they’re going to come out hard,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They’re at home, they play really well here. It’s gonna be loud. So we’ve talked about that– making sure we’re on time [with our] start.”