At the end of a 48-hour timespan, the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes find themselves even in their first-round series.
Dougie Hamilton’s slapshot game-winner 8:30 into the third period sealed a 3-2 win for the Canes Thursday night and evened the series at 1-1. The two teams will face off again on Saturday afternoon for Game 3.
Game 2 was a tale of two halves.
Without superstar winger David Pastrnak — deemed unfit to participate during warmups — the Bruins still found a way to set the tempo thanks to a ferocious forecheck.
David Krejci gave Boston a 1-0 lead with 4:19 remaining in the opening period when he slotted a wrist shot from the point on the power play.
The Bruins carried that momentum into the second period but quickly found themselves playing from behind as Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov took advantage of sloppy turnovers to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead just 29 seconds apart.
Boston battled back and tally their second power play goal of the evening when Brad Marchand found the back of the net with 4.4 seconds left in the middle frame.
The third period was a war of attrition, but the Bruins didn’t have enough to even things up following Hamilton’s goal.
Here’s what we learned from Game 2.
Turnovers sink Boston’s momentum
When the Bruins look back on this game, they will see that they could have easily won it if not for a few self-inflicted errors. The prime suspect being turnovers breaking out of the defensive zone.
Time and time again, the Bruins fell victim to turning the puck over in crucial areas that allowed the Hurricanes to sustain a relentless offensive zone presence. Eventually, a good team will capitalize on those opportunities.
That’s exactly what happened to the Bruins. Once they lost the momentum, they could never get it back.
The game went from Boston controlling the neutral zone and the offensive end to not being able to clear the defensive zone. They spent more time in desperation mode defending than they did seizing the game. That is how you lose hockey games.
Bruins correct power play woes
Bruce Cassidy’s squad turned their weakness into a strength in Game 2.
Even without Pastrnak’s potent slap shot from the left faceoff dot, the power play unit flowed better and displayed creativity when they needed to.
Krejci filled in the open spot on the top power play unit and showed he was every bit as capable when he scored the game’s first goal.
When they needed it, Boston turned to the power play for help. Marchand’s tally was a prime example of stopping the bleeding after Carolina took the lead.
It wasn’t enough to propel the Bruins to victory, but the power play’s success provided something to build on.
Pastrnak’s status is crucial
The most concerning thing right now is the health of Pastrnak.
Shortly before puck drop, the team disclosed that he was unfit to participate and would not be playing in Game 2. There is speculation that he hurt himself while celebrating Patrice Bergeron’s game-winning goal on Wednesday.
In a somewhat encouraging sign, Cassidy doesn’t believe Pastrnak will be out long term and essentially labeled him day to day.
The Bruins need Pastrnak. He’s not a player you can replace, and Boston needs all the firepower it can get to advance.
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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