“It was a bad start,” said Rajala, who scored his first AHL playoff goal and his 18th of the season with 51 seconds left in the first period.
“Right now, it is what it is. We are able to beat these guys. We've just got to do that on Friday, and again on Saturday.”
Charlotte also won the special teams battle on both ends of the ice. The Checkers were 3-of-7 on power play opportunities, while holding the Barons — the AHL's leader in power plays — to just 1 of 9, including 1 of 3 in two-man down situations.
“We had some timely goals when we had the chance to score on the power plays, and our PK (penalty kill defense) did the job throughout the game,” Charlotte coach Jeff Daniels said.
A lot of that was due to the way officials called Wednesday's game, racking up 32 penalty minutes total between the two teams — equal to the minutes allowed in the series' first two games.
“The standard was different ... than what we saw in the first two games,” Nelson said. “This was probably the least physical game in the series.
“But that doesn't matter — they earned the win. They produced on their power plays, they did a good job on their PK and their goalie played well.”