Boston evens series vs. Hurricanes 2-2 in Sunday matinee.
Boston, MA – The Boston Bruins had four goal scorers for the second straight game as they outlasted the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 in front of 17,850 at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon. Brad Marchand’s two third period goals and Jeremy Swayman’s 24 saves on the day highlighted the Bruins’ effort to tie the series with the Hurricanes after losing the first two games in Raleigh, NC.
The Bruins’ win was more impressive because top defenseman Charlie McAvoy was ruled out of action just before the team’s warm-up in the afternoon. After testing positive Sunday morning, McAvoy went into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
“We didn’t have a choice,” Marchand said of the adversity. “We’re playing for our season. It’s really tough when you lose guys like them (McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm). They’re great players and they play big minutes, but it doesn’t mean you can roll over and fold. There’s a lot of pride in the room and a lot of character. We’ve always shown that.”
Brett Pesce continued Carolina’s trend of taking the lead when he flung a Jordan Staal pass into the slo tpast Swayman at 14:06. The Canes had a textbook breakout from their defensive zone to capitalize on a three-on-two. Staal found a trailing Pesce for the wrist-shot through Swayman’s legs. Staal and Max Domi assisted on Pesce’s first of the postseason.
Boston quickly answered at 16:09 when Patrice Bergeron tapped in a loose puck at the right side of the Canes’ net. Bergeron won the offensive zone face-off, and David Pastrnak tried to drop pass the puck back out front from behind the goal. Bergeron corralled the loose puck and banked in a shot past Antti Raanta (23 saves) to even things at 1-1. Pastrnak and Marchand assisted on Bergeron’s third goal of the playoffs.
Carolina jumped back out to the lead just thirty-three seconds into the second period when Staal fired a shot in front of the goal past Swayman’s glove side to make it 2-1. The Hurricanes caught the Bruins running around in their end as Nino Niederreiter took a Tony DeAngelo pass along the boards behind the Bruins net and he backhanded a pass out to Staal at the bottom of the right circle for the second Canes lead of the game.
Jake DeBrusk tied the game at 18:44 of the second when he poked in the puck during a scrum in the Hurricanes crease. Boston had a power-play as Carolina’s Niederreiter was off for Tripping. Marchand put a shot on Raanta from the goal line, and DeBrusk was able to get a stick on the puck before Raanta could cover it up. Marchand and Bergeron assisted on DeBrusk’s first of the playoffs.
“That’s what we talked to Jake about,” said Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. “He did a real good job with that. The puck’s sitting there, he went after it. How it plays out after that is kind of out of our hands. And good for him getting in there, that’s a greasy goal.”
Carolina challenged the goal, but the call on the ice stood, and the Hurricanes earned a Delay of Game penalty for their trouble. On the ensuing power-play, Bergeron took a Sebastian Aho stick to the face giving the Bruins a five-on-three at the 19:36 mark. Aho cut Bergeron above the left eye, earning a four-minute penalty.
“That’s the least of what Bergy’s (Patrice Bergeron) played through, a cut,” said Marchand when asked about Bergeron’s desire to stay on the ice after being hit by Aho’s stick. “He’s played with a hole in his lung and a broken rib. There’s not a whole lot that’s going to keep him down.”
That would prove costly in the third, as the Bruins started the period with a clean sheet of ice and a two-man advantage. Marchand wasted little time putting the Bruins ahead 3-2 when he wristed a shot from the top of the right circle past Raanta just forty-three seconds into the period. Marchand’s shot beat the Canes netminder high glove-side. Charlie Coyle and DeBrusk assisted on the Bruins’ second power-play goal.
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Boston was unable to capitalize on the remaining 2:53 of Aho’s penalty.
David Pastrnak notched his second goal in two games as he beat Raanta at the far post with a wrist shot. Bergeron won the drawback to Marchand as he skated from the right side of the circle. Marchand feathered a pass through the legs of Pesce as Pastrnak drifted away from defenseman Brady Skjei in front of Raanta before putting the puck past the Finnish netminder at 5:41 to make 4-2 Boston.
The Bruins added an insurance empty-net goal with thirty-five seconds remaining when Marchand outraced the Carolina defense to a loose puck at the top of the right circle for the 5-2 lead. Marchand’s second of the game was his fifth point on the day and eighth in the two games in Boston. Marchand had only one assisted in the two games in North Carolina.
“We need to win a game on the road,” said Cassidy on it being a best-of-three now. “If we don’t win a game on the road in this series, we’re not advancing. So we know that. That’s been in front of us since the playoffs started, and we’ve got an opportunity to do that Tuesday.”
Game Five is Tuesday at 7:00 pm at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.