NEWARK, N.J. -- Well, that was pretty ugly.
At least, that was the Carolina Hurricanes' perspective — almost in disbelief — after the dismal 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils in Wednesday's Stanley Cup playoff opener at the Prudential Center.
For the Devils, there wasn't a real blemish to this game, to this victory. The big smile on the face of Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey's president and general manager, after the game spoke volumes about the feelings of everyone in the organization.
"I thought through and through we got contributions from everyone," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "It was pretty precise, how we wanted to play.
"We know our opponent is a very tough opponent and we need to be a disciplined team in everything we do."
The Devils were just that — precise and disciplined. They took just two penalties, both in the third period after building the lead to 3-0. They allowed 19 shots in the game and precious few good scoring chances for the Canes, who got their only goal from Ray Whitney at 9:22 of the third.
"They were better than us in all areas," Whitney said. "They have a good veteran team that was prepared to play tonight and we just didn't answer."
The Canes had some players making their first playoff appearances, including defensemen Tim Gleason and Anton Babchuk and forward Tuomo Ruutu.
"We had some nervousness," Whitney said.
Gleason was responsible for a penalty 37 seconds into the game for too many men on the ice.
First-game nerves? Gleason smiled, a rarity in the Canes' locker room after this game.
"It was stupid," he said. "Too many men the first shift I jumped out there. That was my mistake in the playoffs -- hopefully that was it."
The Canes, nearly everyone in their room agreed, were too tentative, especially early in the game.
"I think we were," Gleason said. "We were trying not to make mistakes and that's not how we play hockey.
"We finished off the year on a positive, winning a lot of games. If we were confident then, we can be confident now."
Gleason said coach Paul Maurice was as positive as possible after such game, that he didn't come in and bark and howl.
"He gave us a positive chat," Gleason said. "We've got to move on from it and stay positive.
"We've got a lot of character in this room and a lot of guys who have gone through this. This is all part of it. The message was positive, to go to practice, learn from it and move on."