BOSTON — Throughout his entire first season leading the Carolina bench, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour has made it clear his team’s fortunes — good or bad — are about one thing: his team.
So whether it’s questions about the officiating in the Bruins’ 5-2 Game 1 win or additions to the Boston lineup for Sunday’s Game 2, the rookie coach is all about what his team can control, not any outside forces.
“I think we’ve always, from Day 1, it’s about the next day, the next game, the next shift,” Brind’Amour said on Friday’s off day. “Our focus has always just been on ‘do it right, try to do what you can control and then move on.’ And good or bad, it’s always about the next step.
“That’s what I expect our guys to do. We’ll be probably saying the same exact things after next game. Hopefully it’s in our favor, but we’ll be moving ahead to Game 3 after Game 2.”
There were plenty of questions about the calls in the third period — specifically, a same-sequence roughing penalty on Dougie Hamilton and a neutral zone hit to Andrei Svechnikov that went uncalled — that left many scratching their head in what has already been a difficult postseason for NHL officials.
“That’s the one that I was frustrated with because I thought early in the game there was one where (Hurricanes winger Micheal) Ferland gave the guy less of a shot and there was a penalty,” Brind’Amour said of the neutral zone check to the back on Svechnikov by Bruins forward Sean Kuraly. “So I actually thought we were going on the power play. I didn’t see Dougie’s in the corner. So that was what kind of confused me on the whole thing. But that’s not why we lost the game. But yes, I thought that was a penalty (on Kuraly).”
Still, Brind’Amour quickly grew tired of answering questions about something that can’t be changed, even if he surprised there were more penalties than customary in an NHL playoff game.
“I was, but you gotta adjust to what’s going on in the game,” he said when asked if the game had more penalties than he anticipated. “They were called early (for) some penalties, and you gotta know that maybe that’s how the game’s going to be called. We can get into it all day if we want. At the end of the day, that’s not why we lost the game. We’ve gotta execute on those situations, and we didn’t.”
Brind’Amour and his team are clearly ready to move on to Game 2, though the coach was wishing it was sooner after having just gone five days without a game.
“The schedule is not good for me,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t like sitting in hotels for two days. But again, that’s stuff you can’t control. We gotta worry about what we can control. We can’t control calls or noncalls, we can’t control the schedule. Control what we can control. The bounces, we’ve got to create our own, make our own noise. And that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Another thing the Hurricanes can’t control? Boston’s lineup. The Bruins will get back defenseman Charlie McAvoy for Sunday’s game after he was suspended one match for a headshot on Columbus’ Josh Anderson in Boston’s Game 6 win in Columbus, but his replacement in Game 1, Steven Kampfer, scored Thursday. His success, along with the play of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo against Carolina’s top line centered by Sebastian Aho, had Brind’Amour praising Boston’s defense in Game 1 while being ready for it to add McAvoy going forward.
“Their D played pretty solid last night, so it’s going to be tough to get that much better,” Brind’Amour said. “But obviously (McAvoy’s) one of their better players, so I would think that they’re going to be that much better. But it doesn’t change what we’re going to be trying to do.”
What the Hurricanes will do, presumably, is try to persevere. Carolina lost the first two games of its first-round series with Washington but is 8-2 since. That included 5-0 and 5-2 wins over the Capitals in Games 3 and 6 of the teams’ series following Hurricanes’ losses.
“We said all along this year we expect to win every night,” Brind’Amour said. “And so it’s frustrating when you don’t, but I don’t think it’s going to hamper anything we’re doing going into the next game.”