Boston cuts series deficit to 2-1 in win over Carolina.
Boston, MA – A raucous sellout TD Garden crowd was just what the slumping Boston Bruins needed to get back into their series against the Carolina Hurricanes. 17,850 black and gold-clad fans witnessed a return to form for the Bruins as they put together a solid sixty-minute effort to beat the Hurricanes 4-2 in Game Three of their best-of-seven series.
Jeremy Swayman earned his first NHL playoff win, in his first NHL playoff start, by stopping 25 of 27 Carolina shots while the Bruins’ offense finally kicked into gear against the ‘Canes for the first time in six tries as they had tallies from four different skaters.
“I thought he played great,” said Brad Marchand of Swayman’s first playoff start. “He made some huge saves at timely moments of the game where you could change the outcome. He seemed to be very composed. It’s a high-pressure game and he came in, he was prepared. But that’s what we kind of expected from him, he’s had that all year.”
Swayman’s big night also had 29 blocked shots by Bruins’ defenders. Defenseman Derek Forbort led the way with nine, while Tomas Nosek and Charlie Coyle had three each.
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“He’s one of those guys that plays a game that guys don’t want to play,” added Marchand of Forbort’s night. “He sacrifices every night for the group. He puts his body in harm’s way. And those are guys that you win with in the playoffs. He blocked some really good opportunities.”
Vincent Trocheck put the visiting Hurricanes ahead at 9:17 of the first period when he swiped a rebound attempt past Bruins’ goalie Swayman and defenseman Brandon Carlo. Trocheck had the inside step on Carlo as the Bruins were unable to clear the defensive zone, and Carolina defenseman Brendan Smith flung a shot on goal from the blue line, where Trocheck was able to pick up his second goal of the postseason.
With Bruins forward Erik Haula in the penalty box, the Hurricanes looked to build on their lead during a power-play, but head’s up play by the Bruins penalty kill led to Coyle tapping in a Jake DeBrusk two-on-one feed to tie the game 1-1 at 17:16. DeBrusk carried into the Carolina zone and feathered a saucer pass from the left face-off dot to a charging Coyle for the tap-in past an outstretched Pyotr Kochetkov (24 saves) for his first goal of the 2022 playoffs.
“It was a great goal by JD (Jake DeBrusk) and Charlie (Coyle),” said Swayman of the game-tying short-handed goal. “It’s attention to detail and you know, knowing when to go when there’s an opportunity and getting the crowd into it was a big part. They were behind us the whole night.”
The Bruins took their first lead of the postseason series and the regular-season meetings against the Hurricanes at 5:41 of the second period when Brad Marchand wristed a shot over the blocker of Kochetkov to make it 2-1. Marchand got the play going when he intercepted a Brady Skjei pass along the boards. Marchand dished to Patrice Bergeron at the top of the right circle, but his shot hit a stick. The 5′-9″ Marchand corralled the loose puck and fired off a wrister for his first goal of the playoffs.
“That’s a big lift for us,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy of Marchand’s goal. “We got to lead now for the first time against this team since, what, 2020 or something? It’s been a while. So now, all of a sudden, we get to play a little more comfortable game.”
David Pastrnak made it 3-1 Bruins when he buried a wrist shot between Kochetkov and the near post while on the power-play. Pastrnak’s first goal of the postseason was Boston’s third power-play goal in the last two games after struggling on the man advantage to close out the season. Marchand and Coyle picked up the helpers on the eventual game-winning goal.
“It takes a little bit,” Pastrnak said when asked about his power-play goal. “You have to adjust a little bit… they’re a pretty good penalty kill, but at the same time our PP wasn’t great. I think we were causing some of our own problems within ourselves.”
“It’s a big one and hopefully we can take over from now,” added Pastrnak.
At 4:08 of the third period, Taylor Hall added another power-play goal after he and Pastrnak connected in front of Kochetkov. Hall took a Marchand pass just below the left face-off dot and faked a pass across the ice to Pastrnak at the other face-off dot, which froze the Carolina defenders before making the pass which Pastrnak returned to Hall at the near post for the tap in to make it 4-1. Pastrnak and Marchand assisted Hall’s second goal of the series.
“I felt like earlier in that same shift I missed the net,” said Pastrnak of Hall’s goal. “So, I just went back to him and he made a great play.”
Carolina pulled one back at 11:30 when Jaccob Slavin took advantage of sloppy zone play by the Bruins and fired a shot from the blue line that beat Swayman glove side for his first of the playoffs.
The Bruins held on to their two-goal lead to extend the series to at least a game five back in Carolina.
“You can’t let what happened the night before affect your mindset,” said Cassidy. “It could affect what your going to do on the ice, the adjustments you’re going to make, how you necessarily need to play but you need to still have a mindset of ‘ok every game takes on a life of it’s own.’ You’ve got to be ready and prepared for that. That’s the difference with the playoffs.”