But on Wednesday night, Gelinas' timing was just right.
Gelinas, back on the top line for the second straight game because of an injury to Ray Sheppard, had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes beat Boston 2-1, snapping the Bruins' five-game unbeaten streak.
"It has been a tough season," said Gelinas, who saw his playing time cut midway through the season and had to deal with a line demotion.
"The first half of the season I was really frustrated and I really wanted to contribute more and do more for the team and I just couldn't.
"Compared to Vancouver (in 1997), where I was playing 20 minutes, I was playing 10 minutes here. After awhile I kind of accepted my role and things got a little easier for myself. We have some injuries now (and) I have to make the most of it. Those guys will be back soon and if I have to be back on the third or fourth line, so be it."
Maurice said Gelinas' time was reduced because of poor decisions in the neutral zone.
"But I have to give him credit for keeping his focus," Maurice said. "And the coach hasn't been particularly friendly about the whole situation either. We both have issues, but he has done a great job of putting that aside and working very hard."
Boston came into the game 4-0-1 in its last five and in eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but couldn't manufacture much offense against the tight-checking Hurricanes in its second game in as many nights.
"You gotta play 82 games," Boston coach Pat Burns said when asked about playing on consecutive nights. "The schedule's there, you just have to attack every game."
The victory gave the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes a four-game home unbeaten streak despite their continued struggles on the power play.
Gelinas gave Carolina a 2-1 lead early in the second period, taking a centering pass from behind the net from Keith Primeau and one-timing it through the legs of Boston goaltender Byron Dafoe.
It was Gelinas' 11th of the season and first since scoring two at Buffalo on Feb. 15.
The teams traded first-period goals. Glen Wesley scored 7:46 into the game after a centering pass from Gelinas hit off the skate of Boston's Dmitri Khristich and right to the Carolina defenseman ithe slot, where he beat Dafoe up high.
Carolina's power play, the worst in the NHL, continued to sputter, going 0-for-6 against the league's top penalty-killing team. The Hurricanes are now scoreless on their last 23 chances with the man advantage and two for their last 54.
"I've never seen anything like this in my life," Gelinas said of Carolina's lack of power-play goals. "It seems like we're digging our hole deeper and deeper every game we play."
Dave Karpa returned to the Carolina defensive unit after missing 41 games with torn ligaments in his right knee.
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