No matter the postseason environment, the Boston Bruins can still overcome a deficit against a James Reimer-led squad.
No, it wasn’t 4-1 this time. But in the city where Reimer began his career, the Bruins found their groove in the final 20 after trailing 2-0 in a pivotal Game 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.
And no, this wasn’t the same team from the first and second periods hampered by a pair of Jaroslav Halak softies — courtesy of Justin Williams and Jordan Martinook — or an offense that lacked a sense of urgency at even strength.
The team that came out in the third was, well, magical.
Magical in the form of a flying Jake DeBrusk to give the Bruins life at 7:26. Boston’s magic continued with Charlie McAvoy’s thunderous hit on Jordan Staal shortly after DeBrusk’s first tally.
Within a 6:51 timespan, the Bruin turned a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead with their latest acts thanks to Connor Clifton’s one-timer equalizer, Brad Marchand’s breakaway tally and DeBrusk’s second of the night.
The Bruins showcased desperation early in the third, but they had to hold off a newly-desperate Hurricanes bunch in the final moments of regulation following Teuvo Teravainen’s tally. They made their effort worthwhile and secured the 4-3 victory after outshooting Carolina 15-1 in the final 20.
“We have a ton of character in our room,” Marchand said afterward. “We just continued to impose our will and play our game. And when we play like that, we’re a tough team to play.”
Here’s what we learned after the Bruins took a commanding 3-1 series lead.
DeBrusk showcases another playoff breakthrough
Forgive us if we compared Bobby Orr and Jake DeBrusk Monday night following his first tally.
DeBrusk’s first of the series wasn’t a game-winner. It didn’t come in the Stanley Cup Final, either. But his flying goal against a charging Reimer gave his team much-needed life after an uninspiring 40-plus minutes of play.
It was only fitting for DeBrusk to get off the schneid as he entered Game 4 without a goal in the series despite generating his share of quality scoring chances. The Bruins were off and running from there. DeBrusk later capitalized on another chance later in the period off a great feed from Ondrej Kase for an important insurance tally shortly after Cliftton’s equalizer and Marchand’s go-ahead goal.
“Anytime you can contribute in a win, it’s huge. Obviously, we’ve had some pretty good looks in the series. I just wanted to number one, try to find my game and just help the team,” DeBrusk said. “I kind of got lucky on the first one, I’d like to say, and a great play by my linemates on the second one. We rallied to win.”
DeBrusk set the tone for the comeback. But he wasn’t the only one delivering an impactful moment or two in the final 20.
McAvoy’s game-changing hit
The Bruins had a reason for hope following DeBrusk’s first of the night, but the momentum wasn’t fully titled on their side of the ice just yet. An opportunistic McAvoy then flipped the game upside down both figuratively and literally.
As the Canes looked to transition the puck from their defensive end, McAvoy lined Staal up hoping to at least halt his outlet pass with some contact. Staal delivered that outlet feed only to run into McAvoy’s shoulder before falling on impact and ultimately leaving the game.
“You have to be able to create your own energy on the bench and going into that third period and obviously you’re down two and the game hadn’t really been in our favor,” McAvoy said. “We had some chances and stuff but we were looking to create some energy. And that was kind of the message – that we weren’t out of it. It was an opportunity to step up and make a hit, try and separate a man from the puck. We were already playing well and just to see so many guys step up and make tremendous plays tonight when it really mattered to get us a win was just so awesome to see. It really lifts the spirit of the team.”
DeBrusk may have given the Bruins a bit of a wake-up call in the empty Scotiabank Arena with his first tally. McAvoy, however, woke the Bruins up for good following his clean hit on Staal.
“He’s got a lot of meat over there,” DeBrusk said of McAvoy’s hit. “I didn’t actually see the hit live, but, like you said, the reaction of the bench. Anytime – it’s so weird without fans, to be honest with you. Anytime there’s a big play or a good scoring chance, the only way you know is by the bench reaction. Obviously, it was a big hit and it was a good moment for us. That’s when we’re coming hard.”
The Hurricanes will come at the Bruins hard in an elimination game on Wednesday afternoon. The Bruins may have deflated Carolina following their thrilling come from behind win Monday, but they’d be wise to match their desperation from the get-go in Game 5.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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