The Boston Bruins won their first hockey game since Mar. 10.
Patrice Bergeron’s game-winner a mere 73 ticks into the second overtime lifted the Bruins over the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, Wednesday morning to give Boston a 1-0 series lead.
The game — originally slated for Tuesday night — was rescheduled to 11 a.m. Wednesday morning following the five-overtime marathon between Tampa Bay and Columbus, marking the earliest start time in Stanley Cup Playoff history.
The Bruins, who finished with an 0-3 record in round-robin play, came out firing in the first period, yet found themselves in another 1-0 hole 6:58 when Joel Edmundson’s slap shot from the point found its way past Tuukka Rask (25 saves).
But Bruce Cassidy’s bunch kept fighting back and continued to generate scoring chances, ultimately outshooting the Hurricanes 40-28.
David Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board in the first period when he finished a beautiful feed from Brad Marchand. Charlie Coyle added a goal of his own 4:38 into the middle frame to give Boston its first lead in the bubble.
That lead lasted all of 21 seconds. Brock McGinn intercepted an errant pass by Pastrnak on the power play and deked by Rask to notch a shorthanded goal to even the score.
Momentum swung back in Boston’s favor when David Krejci scored 59 seconds into the third period. But the Bruins couldn’t close out the win in regulation as the Hurricanes forced overtime when Hayden Fleury sent a wrist shot past a screened Rask.
Eventually, Boston’s offensive pressure was too much for Carolina to handle, as the top line finished the job with Bergeron’s game-winner.
“We were getting offensive chances. And I think we’re the type of teams that eventually, we’re going to score. We’re a good offensive team,” Cassidy said after the Game 1 win. “So, we just felt that if we continue to defend well, limit Carolina’s chances, eventually you’re going to break the other team if you keep getting good looks. It just happened to happen early in overtime.”
Here’s what we learned from Boston’s first win in the Toronto bubble.
The Bruins have found a second line
We don’t say this often, but on Wednesday the second line formed Boston’s best scoring line.
The trio, consisting of Krejci, Jake DeBrusk and Ondrej Kase, displayed great chemistry and fluidity as they generated several high-quality scoring chances.
The Bruins might have won this game going away if DeBrusk had finished the bevy of high-quality scoring chances he encountered.
“I think Jake was [frustrated] a little bit, he had a few good looks, didn’t go his way,” Cassidy said about DeBrusk. “I thought he worked hard to get those. He keeps doing those type of things it’ll go in for him.”
The biggest difference for this line today was the movement of Kase and Krejci. Kase, acquired by the Bruins from Anaheim in the trade deadline, fit in seamlessly in his first game with the Bruins this postseason.
“I thought he was fantastic,” Cassidy said about Kase.
The Bruins will be a tough out if they get this kind of sustained production from their second line.
The Power Play struggles continued
Once a well-oiled machine, the Bruins power play is now dormant.
The Bruins went 0-for-4 with the man advantage on Wednesday, making them 0-for-13 this postseason.
Boston hardly found any fluidity in its zone entries. Carolina did a tremendous job of loading up at its blue line, and the Bruins did not have an answer for it.
“Power play got frustrated for obvious reasons,” Cassidy added. “Give them a lot of credit for bottling us up. We got a little stubborn at times, so there was some frustration there.”
Although he’s a threat from the left circle every time he touches the puck, Pastrnak has been lining up on the power play in various positions thus far. Ultimately the Bruins are taking away their top weapon and limiting their scoring options.
The Bruins were right in a sense
Cassidy said in June that the Bruins would treat the three round-robin games like the preseason. Marchand echoed that sentiment in a Monday morning press conference.
There was a growing sense of panic outside of the locker room that the team was truly struggling. But the Bruins were steadfast that they could flip a switch once the games mattered.
It turns out they were right.
This was the best the Bruins have looked since arriving in Toronto. They looked sharp in most aspects and more importantly, they found ways to score.
Aside from a few defensive breakdowns, the Bruins, despite needing double overtime to win, dominated a Carolina team that just swept the New York Rangers.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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