Hurricanes' stars need to step up ... and they'd better do it now
I'm not sure who controls the music in the Hurricanes' dressing room, but if they're looking to make a point before tonight's Eastern Conference final game, might I suggest a mash-up of Bonnie Tyler's
A little on the kitschy side, sure. Both songs have the gravitas of an episode of
If Carolina hopes to avoid digging itself an inescapable 3-0 hole in its series against Pittsburgh, it's time for the 'Canes' best players to start being their best players ... and a little bit of old-fashioned testosterone in the defensive zone wouldn't hurt, either.
Cliché? Maybe. Carolina isn't as overmatched as it looked at times during Games 1 and 2, but it's clear that those were two areas where Pittsburgh displayed a clear advantage.
In those contests,
Carolina's marquee players? Effective to a point, but not nearly effective enough.
This is where they really miss
And then there's
That's not to say Ward wears the horns for that loss. With the Penguins dictating possession through the first two games, they chose to spend most of their time camped directly in and around Ward, a troubling trend born out by their 73-52 shots advantage. Carolina's defense may be adept at moving the puck, but
You can't blame Ward for those, or for the three backdoor goals Pittsburgh scored in the first two games. Still, he has to be better. A lot better. Truth is, the Penguins' deep arsenal gives Fleury a little breathing room. They can survive an off night from their netminder. Carolina can't survive an off shift. Ward might not have to commit outright theft to get the 'Canes back in this thing, but some light fingers and a morally ambiguous conscience wouldn't hurt.
The 'Canes should get a boost from returning home, and not just because of Raleigh's rabid fans (who rapidly are building their argument for being the most enthusiastic in the league). Last change will allow
But it all comes down to stars living up to their billing and the ability of Carolina's defense to make life miserable for Pittsburgh's marauding forwards. It's a familiar tune this time of year, but its also one the 'Canes need to memorize.
If not, they might need a selection from the Ramones' songbook for a little inspiration before Game 4: