By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour knows his team had the Boston Bruins on the ropes in Game 4.
There the Hurricanes were: Up 2-0 through 40 minutes of play, and off two absolutely stoppable shots on Jaroslav Halak. The Hurricanes also smothered the Bruins into nothingness for almost the entire first period, surrendering five shots against the B's in the opening three minutes of play but holding them to just shots of goal over the next 20 minutes and change. Carolina also had an almost forcefield-like presence around James Reimer, too, with the Bruins incapable of finishing off a strong net-front chance or corralling the puck necessary to land a high-percentage look on goal.
It made the finish, which included four straight goals from the Bruins (and in just 6:51), putting the Hurricanes on the brink of elimination in a 3-1 hole instead of a 2-2 tie, all the more painful.
"We just we weren't ready to continue to do that dig in that we needed to do, little battles," Brind'Amour said after the loss. "They threw everything at us and we didn't have an answer. It was tough to watch that’s for sure. I love this team, I love my guys. We learned a lesson today, though. You know I got to take the good always with this group, and it's been mostly good for me for a year and a half, two years, with the effort and the way they play, and I got to take the bad on this one. It wasn't good. You know we just sat back and we let them take it to us, and you know that's what championship teams do, they take it to you. So you know we got to learn from that for sure but this one is going to sting for a while."
This meltdown should sting, too.
It started with Jake DeBrusk taking advantage of Reimer's unnecessary challenge up 2-0 (you're an ex-Leaf, why even tempt fate?), continued with Joakim Nordstrom feeding Connor Clifton for a Carolina-esque hammer of a goal through Reimer. Then came a Brad Marchand breakaway finish, and another DeBrusk strike. And in the middle of this d-zone chaos that set Carolina Hockey back about five years, Charlie McAvoy lowered the boom and knocked Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal out of the game.
Oh, and did I mention that the Hurricanes didn't get their first shot of the third period on goal until there was only 1:27 left in the third period? It snuck through Halak and made it a one-goal game, yeah, but it was too little too late for Brind'Amour's squad.
It's just another gut-punch team for a Canes club that entered Game 4 without their most dynamic scorer, Andrei Svechnikov, who is unlikely to return for Game 5, and didn't see Staal return to the bench by the night's end.
"I mean, I’ll take some time here because emotions are obviously at a certain point," Brind'Amour offered. "You know it's what I've always said about, even taking over as coach, I wanted to make people that support this organization proud of how we play. I think we've done that for most of the time that I've been here, and today we didn't, and that's the most disturbing thing for me. So we’ve got to pick the pieces up and make sure we put an effort forward that you can say, that's how it should look and be proud of it. Win or lose, you got to be proud of how you play and that didn't happen."
The Hurricanes, who have an 0-3 all-time record in best-of-seven series when they trail a series 1-3, will look to stave off elimination with a 4 p.m. puck drop on Wednesday.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.