BOSTON — The Canes came into their series with the Bruins tagged as the underdogs against the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
What about now, with a 3-1 series lead?
"We came in as underdogs because we are," Canes coach Paul Maurice said today. "Points-wise, the best team is left in the playoffs, and we're in a stronger position that I guess we may have even thought coming into Game 4.
"But everybody's got a challenge in every game. The Bruins have one tonight. So do the Hurricanes. We have to come in and not only prepare ourselves for a team that's going to come out and not leave anything, they're going to give it all tonight, not that they didn't try last game.
"We all have given it all every night."
For the Canes, the Bruins' "all" could mean a little of anything. And they're steeling themselves for anything.
"I thought last game got a little physical, but I think for us we've got to play from whistle to whistle and not worry about anything else," center Eric Staal said. "We're a team that needs to initiate and get on the attack and get on their defense and use our speed.
"If they want to start those scrums or throw punches after the whistle, we've just got to skate away and worry about the next shift and hopefully get our chance on the power play."
The Canes know the crowd will be loud, that the Bruins must win, that they will hold nothing back. But Sergei Samsonov, who has scored goals the last two games, said the Canes can't change their approach, the one that has been so successful for them, and focus only on finishing off the series now.
"We can't look at it as we need to win one of the next three," the forward said. "We need to win the next game. I'm not going to say it's a must-win tonight, but the longer you drag it out the more even the chances are going to be.
"We have to realize that. I've been on the other side when we were up 3-1 and ended up losing. But I think we have a lot of experience in this room and everyone realizes that."