'Canes reverse some trends.


Byline: Bud Barth


BOSTON - Much of the focus after Game 1 was on the Hurricanes' inability to put pucks in the net, particularly Eric Staal, who hadn't managed a single point against the Bruins in five games this season.

He wasn't alone, however. Erik Cole, Rod Brind'Amour, Matt Cullen, ex-Bruin Sergei Samsonov and Tuomo Ruutu - who combined for 98 goals during the regular season - had managed only one in the playoffs before last night.

The 'Canes also got 30 regular-season goals from defensemen Joe Corvo and Anton Babchuk, who had zip in the postseason.

Much of that changed with last night's 3-0 Carolina victory in Game 2 at the Garden. Staal had an assist and an empty-net goal (you've got to start somewhere, right?), Cole got an assist for his first point in 21 playoff games, and Cullen and Corvo scored their first goals of this postseason.

Coach Paul Maurice started the game with Staal, Ray Whitney and Cole on the No. 1 line. Samsonov was demoted to the fourth line where he was with Jussi Jokinen to free him occasionally from the shackles of B's defenseman Zdeno Chara.

But Maurice didn't think the line combinations affected the outcome.

"No, not at all," he said. "As a matter of fact, I felt that what we did (behind) the bench had no impact on the game. I think you can do all you want, and if the players don't sweat and don't compete and don't battle, it just doesn't matter. ... Our fight level was a little bit greater."

Staal was more effective last night, but not infallible. He said on Saturday that the 'Canes wanted to "create some havoc" in the Boston end, adding: "Eventually, they'll have to hold us or hook, and we'll get some power plays."

That didn't work. The Bruins took only one penalty last night after taking just two in Game 1. The Hurricanes were 0 for 1 on the power play in both games, which means Boston's penalty-killers are 10 for 10 in the postseason.

Staying healthy

Defenseman Andrew Ference, who returned in Game 1 from an undisclosed injury, was back in action for the Bruins and logged 19 minutes. Kessel, who sat out Saturday's practice...

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