RALEIGH | Gerard Gallant restored his confidence to his youth trio in Game 6 against the Hurricanes by replacing Filip Chytil in the center of Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko.
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If Chytil led the attack with two goals in a 5-2 win, Lafrenière also followed the parade. The 2020 draft class leader had an assist, finished with a 2-best and generated several scoring opportunities for his linemates.
Gerard Gallant, who is not the type of coach to throw flowers just for fun, spoke of a nice growth in the game of his left winger.
"Laffy [Lafrenière] has been good since January or February," Gallant said. He reached another level. Laffy becomes a man. He also gets good results. He feels good the way he plays and I can trust him. I also like his physical involvement. He has a very competitive spirit. He makes the right decisions with the puck. It's a good sign for a young player. »
In his days as a player, Rod Brind'Amour participated six times in a game number seven in the playoffs. He emerged victorious five times. As head coach, the Ontarian has never experienced the pain of a defeat in two attempts.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Hurricanes beat the Bruins 3-2 in Game 7. And in 2019, the "Canes" upset Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals in second overtime with a 4-3 first-round playoff win at Washington.
"You're more nervous as a coach," Brind'Amour said during a media availability at the PNC Arena. As a player, you can focus only on yourself. You do your preparation. As a coach, I need to worry about 20 players. I prepare a plan, but once the game opens, I have less control than when I was on the ice. »
Heckled by supporters of Madison Square Garden at each of his presence, Anthony DeAngelo will not be unhappy to return home for this decisive meeting.
"You live or you die," the Hurricanes defenseman said. Against the Bruins, I played a seventh game for the first time. I had never played a game seven even in junior. There are great emotions because the stakes are high. You have butterflies when you enter the arena. But you need a lot of character to win. We will look to recreate the same experience as against the Bruins. »