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Williams doesn’t consider his lack of discipline a matter for discussion

Rod Brind’Amour following loss to Boston: ‘We battled hard’

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour addresses the media following the Hurricanes loss to Boston
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Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour addresses the media following the Hurricanes loss to Boston

Justin Williams took three minor penalties in the first period, continuing an unusual run of indiscipline for the Carolina Hurricanes captain. In Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, he was engaged in a running battle with defenseman Torey Krug that Williams refused to discuss.

“No,” Williams said. “Nope.”

The third of the penalties was the most dangerous, a high hit to Krug’s head along the boards. Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour was willing to dismiss the other two, but nevertheless, Williams took five penalties in the space of four periods dating back to Game 2.

“Willy got a little high on a hit,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s not characteristic. The other ones are just battling.”

Williams had 44 penalty minutes in 82 regular-season games; he has 10 minutes in the three games of this series and 18 minutes in 14 playoff games overall.

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Carolina’s Justin Williams (14) heads to the penalty box after being called for a penalty during the first period of the Carolina Hurricanes’ game against the Boston Bruins in game three of the Eastern Conference finals at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

BREAKING THE ICE Defenseman Calvin de Haan, who had one goal in 74 regular-season games, scored his first career playoff goal Tuesday, after 16 games with the Islanders and 11 with the Hurricanes. His slapshot from the left circle slipped between Tukka Rask’s legs after a Sebastian Aho faceoff win to Justin Faulk, who fed de Haan with a cross-ice pass.

“It was kind of a faceoff play we drew up,” de Haan said. “Just kind of waited for some bodies to get to the front of the net and I think I outwaited the goalie a little bit. It was fortunate enough to go in. It’s not the game-winning goal so it doesn’t feel as nice, to be honest.”

Justin Williams and Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes address media on May 15, 2019, a day before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. Trailing the Boston Bruins 3-0 in the series, the Canes players remain hopeful of a comeback.

POWER OUT The Hurricanes went 0-for-5 on the power play to fall to 1-for-12 in this series and 5-for-50 in the playoffs, a crippling deficiency that is as big a reason as any they’re behind 3-0 in the series. And if the power play wasn’t, their penalty-kill might be.

Tuesday’s first period included 69 seconds of four-on-three and 45 seconds of five-on-three to no avail.

“We had a ton of good chances on the power play,” Brind’Amour said. “The four-on-three and five-on-three weren’t great, but the other ones, we definitely had enough looks. You would think you maybe get one. ...

“It’s been a bit of an Achilles’ heel here all year from my point of view. You got to score on those. Five-on-three you’ve got to score. Playoffs, especially, you don’t get that many good looks in a game. That’s one where you’ve got to find the back of the net.”

The Bruins, meanwhile, were 1-for-5 on the power play to move to 5-for-12 in the series, scoring as many goals with the man advantage as the Hurricanes have scored, period.

TAILWINDS Aho extended his point streak to five games (three goals, four assists). … The Hurricanes’ 20 shots in the first period were their most in a period in the playoffs since Game 4 of the first round in 2009, when they put up 22 in the second period against the New Jersey Devils. They scored one goal that night, none Tuesday. … Haydn Fleury played only 3:31 as the Hurricanes went with essentially a five-defenseman rotation. Saku Maenalanen, making his return after missing four games with a hand injury, replaced Jordan Martinook in the lineup and played 7:33.

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Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.

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