from Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet,
The road to this point of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been an interesting one, to say the least, with the Panthers relishing the role of underdog in knocking off the top-seeded and record-setting Boston Bruins in the seventh game in the opening round, then stunning the hockey world once again by ousting the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games, moving Maurice into the fourth conference final of his coaching career.
For the Hurricanes, it’s mostly been a business-like approach in knocking off the New York Islanders in six games and New Jersey Devils in five.
This is a group that’s enjoyed plenty of regular-season success, had a taste of the playoffs over the past few seasons and was supposed to be ready to take the next step, at least until an Achilles injury to Max Pacioretty and a torn ACL for Andrei Svechnikov sent the two high-scoring wingers to the sidelines, reducing them to the role of spectator.
As if that wasn’t enough to overcome, fellow forward Teuvo Teravainen suffered a hand injury in Game 2 of the opening-round series with the Islanders, taking another potent weapon out of the Hurricanes lineup.
Instead of wilting under the pressure and leaning on the excuse of not having enough offensive catalysts to persevere, the injuries seemed to have galvanized the Hurricanes. What is surprising is that the team is scoring at an even higher rate, all the while playing a structured style that has made it difficult for the opponent to penetrate.
As Maurice pointed out to reporters in Florida earlier this week, there are certainly similarities when it comes to the style these two teams play.
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