The Carolina Hurricanes are facing adversity after a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Sunday, but they’re confident they’ll rebound.
“I mean, nothing’s come easy for this group, ever,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Nothing ever is handed to them. Everything they’ve gotten, they’ve earned. There’s never been an easy game, there’s never been anything that, it seems, has gone easily. Obviously, we’re in the playoffs. We’re going to have to go earn every inch of ice we get, every goal. But this group has always bounced back, so I don’t expect anything different.”
Game 2 is at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS).
The Hurricanes trailed 1-0 for the fifth consecutive game when Lightning forward Brayden Point scored a power-play goal 8:15 into the second period. Defenseman Jake Bean‘s first Stanley Cup Playoff goal, on a power play, tied it 1-1 1:41 into the third, but Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow made it 2-1 at 12:39.
Carolina expects to regroup fast.
“That’s kind of our mantra here,” Bean said. “There’s a lot of good teams that we’re going to have to go through, that we’re going to have to play. We’re just going to take one game at a time. When adversity strikes, we’re going to try to be resilient.”
They have some added adversity as well. Hurricanes forward Nino Niederreiter has an upper-body injury and is “very, very doubtful” to return in this series, Brind’Amour said. Niederreiter, who was injured in practice on Saturday, scored 34 points (20 goals, 14 assists) in 56 regular-season games and one point, a goal, in six playoff games. The Hurricanes were without defenseman Jaccob Slavin in Games 2-4 against the Nashville Predators in the first round.
The Hurricanes liked a lot of what they did Sunday, but there are certain areas they need to improve. First, they want make things tougher for Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 37 saves in Game 1.
“He’s the best in the League, best in the world. We knew that coming in,” Brind’Amour said. “We have to figure out ways to make it harder on him. It’s not a surprise. It’s pretty much exactly what we thought was going to happen. We have to keep trying.”
Carolina’s power play struggled again, going 1-for-5 (20 percent) in Game 1. It’s 5-for-24 (20.8 percent) in seven playoff games.
Forward Jordan Martinook said it comes down to little fixes in their game.
“I felt like we played our game for the most part, but we can crank it up even more,” Martinook said. “We had stretches where it looked like how it needs to look, but there can be more stretches like that. It’s every guy giving, I don’t know, one, two percent more. I felt we had a lot of shifts where we were doing what we need to do, but we need to keep building on those, get more grind shifts, just do what we do.”
The Hurricanes know they have more to give in Game 2.
“Yeah, they’re a good team. We’re a good team too,” Bean said. “They might have managed it a bit better than us tonight in some scenarios, and we may have been better in some scenarios. We have another level, and I think all the guys in the room agree with that. We knew this wasn’t going to come off without any kind of adversity.”