If you are a Carolina Hurricanes fan, this 4-0 white-washing of the Devils couldn't have gone much better. Everything fell into place and there was little anxiety in this one. After four straight one-goal affairs, the 'Canes stormed the Devils early, never letting up and building a 3-0 lead after two periods. Unlike Game 4, when the Devils erased a three-goal lead before losing in the final second, the Hurricanes weren't about to fritter this one away.
Instead, they came out and took it away from the Devils, and were unrelenting in their skating. The Devils rarely got a good look at goaltender
But this wasn't about what the Devils didn't do. It was a classic case of the Hurricanes facing elimination and doing exactly what they had to do. The leader was
In fact, Staal centering Whitney and
Still, this was Staal's night. He was leadership personified.
There is no avoiding it now. Heading back to New Jersey, both teams are in the same situation -- win and move on; lose and call it a season. The Eric Staal-led Hurricanes passed the test with flying colors. Now the Devils have to find an answer and deliver. That means it's Staal's 24-year-old counterpart
Should be great theater on Tuesday in Newark.