Staff photo by Chris Seward
BOSTON — Things were orderly in the Canes' locker room Sunday night. The players and coaches quietly packed up their gear for the flight home. No one was muttering or seemed overly upset.
The Canes had just been blanked 4-0 by the Bruins in Game 5. The Bruins, who faced elimination with a loss, were quicker, better, more determined. But the Canes, who had won three straight, still lead the series 3-2.
"It wasn't our best," center Eric Staal said. "One game, it's the playoffs, we get to go home in front of our fans and hopefully get the job done in six.
"We need to regroup, refresh and look forward to Tuesday."
Staal said it matter-of-factly, as if his mind already had turned to Game 6 on Tuesday at the RBC Center. And moments later, a composed Cam Ward came out and said much the same.
"We got away from what we needed to do and lost focus a little bit," the goaltender said. "But at the end of the day it's a good thing it goes down as one loss. We're in a situation where we can try to take this series back in Raleigh."
The only moment of tension — and it was brief — in the locker room came when Jussi Jokinen was asked by a Boston area reporter about the injury to Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in the last half-minute of the second period. Chara, hit on the back of the foot by Jokinen's stick, dropped to the ice in apparent agony and was helped to the bench as Boston fans booed.
Chara returned to play in the third period and was one of the game's three stars.
"You saw what happened," Jokinen said. "He laid there five minutes and played the next shift."
As for Chara, he said little about the play, noting, "We're going to let the league and referees do comments on that."
The referees had their hands full — and whistles blowing — in the third period. There were a total of 21 penalties, 12 on the Canes, and emotions boiled over.
"It's a healthy competition kind of hate," B's goaltender Tim Thomas said. "It's definitely building."