Canes coach Paul Maurice is looking for a bounce-back tonight from his team. A big one.
The Canes not only were beaten Monday in Boston but embarrassed. The Bruins won 7-0 at TD Garden, knocking All-Star goalie Cam Ward out of the game early and continuing to hammer away.
"If you're fortunate to have been around the game a long time and unfortunate enough to have some experience at dealing with games like that, then it happens to every team," Maurice said today. "Every team goes into one where they just can't get near the puck.
"I'm looking forward to the game tonight, and some if it has to do with the age of our team. This is an important game. And it's not about 'No matter how the game is played and you win, everything is fine.' It's the opposite of that. Coming back and learning to define who you are and how you handle a situation like that, this is an important piece. ...
"There's a lot of these guys who can be here five or 10 years. How we approach this event is important. ... It won't necessarily be the final score that tells you if you've done it right. It will be how it looks, how you compete, how the bench is. Those are the things that are important."
Ward will be back in goal tonight. Maurice said it's possible forward Jiri Tlusty, who missed 14 games with an upper-body injury, could be in the lineup, saying that would be a game-time decision. He did not say who Tlusty, who has been out since Dec. 16, would replace should he play.
Asked if he expected a big bounce-back from Ward, Maurice said. "Yes I do. I'm probably more confident of that than anything else that's going on. I think he will be good tonight."
The Canes (22-17-6) have never been in a position quite like this one -- not since the team relocated from Hartford. They've never been swamped by seven goals, then played the same team the next night as the Carolina Hurricanes.
In late March 2001, the Canes were ripped 7-0 in Washington by the Capitals, then bounced back in their next game in Raleigh to beat the Caps 4-3 in overtime. There was a day in-between the two games, which Maurice said was worse.
"Then you're not having a good day for 48 hours," he said. "We get back at 'er today."
Canes captain Eric Staal said he expected to see some fire, see a different Carolina team, on the RBC Center ice tonight.
"We've got a chance to redeem ourselves at home and play harder and play better," Staal said. "We're looking forward to that."
Defenseman Tim Gleason, an alternate captain, is looking forward to it. Winning would take away much the sting from such a lopsided loss, he said.
"It will be easy to wash it out if we come and compete tonight and come out with a win," he said. "Then it's easily forgotten. It's a sour feeling but in a way is motivation for us players."