By Jay Greenberg in Sunrise, Fla.True confessions
Kevin Dineen told his players he was wrapped a little too tightly for his first NHL playoff game as a head coach Friday night, helping his Panthers unravel.
Florida was outshot 26-9 in the first period of their 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils to open the series.
"That's what I told them, 'Hey, I'm a rookie coach,'" Dineen said before Game 2. "I think what happened is I got my focus in the wrong direction early and I think the players read off that a little bit."
"It's a matter of keeping your focus into what you can control, which is what's going to happen the next time you step on the ice. React to both positives and things that may not go your way and keep a little more even keel."
Handled like a veteran. Coaches will do practically anything to put pressure on their teams during the regular season, but during the playoffs they will do almost anything to take the pressure off.Rest for the not so weary
Every Devil except defenceman Bryce Salvador was on the ice Sunday morning after only nine participated in an optional skate on Saturday. Despite a full five days without a game leading up to Friday night's opener of the latest-starting series of the first round, Coach Peter DeBoer figures his statistically oldest team in the league (30.9 years) needs rest more than practice.
"I've taken the approach with our group that I don't believe there's any such thing as too much rest," DeBoer said. "I think our history over the last half of the season was that when we're rested we play well and when fatigue gets set in a little bit for us we don't so, we want to control that the best we can.
"We also have a lot of veterans in that room that know their bodies a lot better than I do. So yesterday was an optional and most guys exercised their option. I trust that they'll be ready to go tonight."It ain't broke...
So Dineen, happy with the way the Panthers recovered from their catatonic start, planned no lineup changes for Game 2. Ditto DeBoer, the Game 1 winner.A win-win
The Devils picked up winger Ryan Carter on waivers from the Panthers early this season. The acquisition proved to be a brilliant maneuver. Not only did he score the winning goal Friday night for New Jersey, but couldn't do it for Florida.
"He was one of the bright spots over the last 20 games, was a guy who played until the last game and played the right way," said DeBoer, fired as the Panthers coach at the end of last season.
"I thought he was a good fit and [general manager] Lou [Lamoriello] agreed. We've used him in a lot of different places and he's done a lot of good things for us."
Carter put up only eight points in 65 games of fourth-line duty for the Devils, but one wouldn't have guessed watching him bank the puck to himself past Ed Jovanovski and beating Jose Theodore cleanly to put New Jersey up 3-0.
"[DeBoer] gave me an opportunity and didn't have to," said Carter. "I appreciate that.
"It's nice, [it has] been rewarding to play in a scenario like this the biggest stage. This is fun."A long, long Time
Panthers last won a playoff game in Game 1 of their 1997 first-round series with the Rangers, a losing streak that was at nine going to Game 2. The Devils were trying to win back-to-back road games to start a series for the first time since they swept Detroit in the 1995 finals to win their first of three Stanley Cups.Follow him on Twitter @scribejg.
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