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Hockey

'Home ice doesn't mean nothing'

Tired Bruins have chance to wrap up 'Canes at home

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Posted: Tuesday May 04, 1999 12:36 PM

  The Bruins have won 20 of their last 25 at the Fleet Center. AP

BOSTON (AP) -- The Bruins have had few problems winning postseason home games. But the draining, physical style of their first-round series has Boston coach Pat Burns throwing history and home-ice advantage out the window.

The Bruins take a 3-2 series lead into Sunday's Game 6 with the Carolina Panthers after an exhausting 4-3 double-overtime victory in Game 5 Friday.

Boston has lost just five of its last 25 playoff games at the FleetCenter.

"It's one of those games that could go either way, home ice doesn't mean nothing," Burns said. "Nothing means nothing. Once the puck hits the ice it's going to be a battle again. Somebody is going to come out of this playoff series very sore."

But the Bruins aren't the only team worn down. It was Carolina's longest game in franchise history.

"That game was a marathon," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "We can't fault any of our players. The physical effort has been there."

As they have for most of their Eastern Conference series, the Hurricanes jumped ahead early and the Bruins found themselves down 2-0 at the end of the first period.

"We are not a good first period team, but I hope we get it figured out for Sunday," said Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe.

But the deficit didn't matter.

Boston scored three goals in a span of 1:52 in the third period to take lead. That was enough to quiet the sellout crowd at Greensboro Coliseum.

"There is the old comment of the 2-0 lead that it is the worst lead in hockey," Dafoe said. "But we did it and we came up with an unbelievable five minutes there with three huge goals."

But the Hurricanes got the momentum back when Sami Kapanen beat Byron Dafoe to tie it at 3-3 with just 1:45 left in regulation.

"This whole series has been (like) that, back and forth," Burns said. "Now it's just like a flip of the coin."

But Boston finally got the win -- and the series lead -- when Anson Carter broke free for a backhander with 5:15 left in the second overtime.

"It's deflating because of how hard we played, but that's why you've got to win four games to win the series," said Carolina captain Keith Primeau. "We just have to go in here (Boston) and get a win."

Carolina knows its toughest challenge is to beat the Bruins on the road. If they manage to do that, the odds increase when the Panthers host Game 7 on Tuesday.

"This series in some ways will grind now," Maurice said. "The effort is going to be there, the intensity is going to be there, but it's not going to be quite as fast as it was. Both teams can't play that hard through Game 7."

 
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