SUNRISE, Fla. — Justin Williams is an advisor with the Carolina Hurricanes, so when some of his former teammates texted asking for his advice how they can come back in the Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers, he did his job.
Only four teams in NHL history have overcome the 3-0 deficit Carolina faces in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 4 at FLA Live Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; TNT, CBC, SN, TVAS). But Williams was on the last team to do it, helping the Los Angeles Kings defeat the San Jose Sharks in seven games after they lost the first three in the 2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals.
“I spoke to the captains today just kind of my thoughts, kind of what I went through, what they have to do,” Williams said Wednesday. “We’ll see. The good thing is that it’s one thing being outplayed for three straight games and up against a juggernaut. [The Panthers] are, obviously, a very good team, but I think the way we’ve played the last little while, certainly the last two games, actually gives you a little bit of hope that this is definitely possible.
“You can’t think about how far you have to go. You’ve just got to think about what’s in front of you right now. As long as they focus on this game and not how many they’ve got to win in row, they’ll have a chance. I believe in the boys in there.”
After losing 3-2 in quadruple overtime in Game 1, Carolina outplayed Florida for stretches in 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2 and a 1-0 loss in Game 3 but had trouble finishing scoring chances against Sergei Bobrovsky. The Panthers goalie has stopped 132 of 135 shots in the series.
“You can’t start thinking that the goalie is unbeatable or he’s so good and this and that,” Williams said. “That way, you get in your own head. You get right in your own head. You’ve got to think about, ‘I should have done this’ or ‘I’ve got to do this a lot better.’ If you start thinking the other way and you don’t believe your shots are going to go in, they never will.”
Williams, a three-time Stanley Cup champion (Carolina 2006, Los Angeles 2012, 2014) who retired in 2020 after a second stint with the Hurricanes, had six points (four goals, two assists) in the final four games against San Jose in 2014, including two goals in a 6-3 win in Game 4 that began Los Angeles’ comeback. But Williams said a 3-0 win in Game 5 at San Jose was what turned hope into confidence for Los Angeles in that series.
“We thought we could win in Games 4 and 5, but we were pretty confident we could win (the series) after we won Game 5 in San Jose 3-0,” Williams said. “We felt confident after that that we were going to win.”
But the Hurricanes can’t get to that point without winning Game 4 first. Williams said that won’t be easy.
“Everyone says the fourth one is the hardest one, but this first one might be the hardest one,” the former Hurricanes captain said. “At the very least, you have to instill an element of doubt at…
Read More: Hurricanes seek Williams’ advice down 3-0 against Panthers in East Final 2023-05-25 22:15:30