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  • What we learned: Hurricanes blowout Bruins on Willie O’Ree Night

    Ryan Ames January 19, 2022


    Five first-period goals from the Carolina Hurricanes sank the Boston Bruins, 7-1, for their first loss in five games on Tuesday at TD Garden.

    “Tonight, we had nothing,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They were clearly better than us in every area. This is less about the opponent and more about where we’re at.”

    Patrice Bergeron tallied the Bruins’ lone strike in the first, while Tuukka Rask’s night lasted just one period in net after allowing five goals on 12 shots.

    Perhaps the only positive of the night was former Bruins great Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 being raised to the rafters in a pregame ceremony. O’Ree was the first Black player to appear in an NHL game back in 1958.

    Teuvo Teravainen and Jesperi Kotkaniemi potted the Hurricanes’ first two goals as a result of soft defensive zone coverage from Boston early in the first frame.

    Bergeron tipped a David Pastrnak pass through Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen to make it 2-1 Hurricanes on the power play, but 13 seconds later, Kotkaniemi deflected a Jaccob Slavin slap shot past Rask to put Carolina back on top by two.

    Seth Jarvis and Derek Stephan joined the scoring onslaught before the first buzzer sounded as Carolina entered the locker room with a commanding four-goal lead.

    Andersen concluded with 31 saves for his fifth consecutive win on the road while Slavin and Andrei Svechnikov slotted the sixth and seventh goals in the third period.

    Here’s what we learned following an ugly performance at home.

    The Bruins weren’t ready to play

    You don’t need an expert to analyze Boston’s poor first-period performance. The five goals against clearly sum that up.

    The Hurricanes took advantage of lackadaisical Bruins defenders and poured on the goals seamlessly. Kotkaniemi’s redirection was the back-breaker as Boston appeared to be finding some momentum following Bergeron’s tally on the man-advantage.

    Jarvis’ goal was arguably the ugliest of them all as Urho Vaakananien and Connor Clifton failed to move the puck up the ice before the speedy Hurricanes forward took the loose puck and scored on a shot an up-to-speed Rask would stop more often than not.

    “I think I can only speak for myself. You got to help them out a little bit,” Rask said. “Everybody’s not going to have their legs at all times, and as a goalie you have to be there, step up and make a couple of saves. And like you saw in the first, I should’ve made two or three saves there to keep it tight, but it was one of those nights.”

    The coverage on Carolina’s final goal from the opening 20 wasn’t much wasn’t much better. Defenseman Jordan Martinook won a puck battle behind the goal line and found Stephan unaccounted for streaking down through the slot.

    Tuesday’s blowout marked the first time that the Bruins allowed five goals in one period at home in 40 years. Simply put, it wasn’t nearly good enough for a Bruins team looking to jump into the top three in the Atlantic Division standings.

    Hurricanes continue to provide nightmares for Bruins

    In two games this season, the Hurricanes have outscored the Bruins, 10-1.

    Although the first meeting on Oct. 28 wasn’t as lopsided, Carolina wasn’t any easier to play against. In the middle of a lengthy season-opening winning streak, the Hurricanes looked like they were shot out of a proverbial cannon throughout their 3-0 victory.

    Tuesday’s meeting showed a similar product on the ice as Carolina seemingly never ran out of energy. The Hurricanes have an anxiety-inducing mix of talent and work ethic, thanks in large part to their head coach Rod Brind’amour.

    The ex-Hurricanes captain has been one of the NHL’s top coaches since taking over in 2018 and guided Carolina to the postseason in each of his first three seasons behind the bench.

    Brind’amour’s coaching philosophy revolves around a high-intensity style of play. His system was in full force against Boston, as evidenced by Carolina’s 14 takeaways.

    “Obviously they forecheck hard and some of the things they do well, some of the top teams to well, hard on pucks, get on top of you, get to the front of the net, that we weren’t nearly good enough,” Cassidy said.

    Carolina’s depth shined bright, with 10 players recording at least one point in the winning effort.

    It’s time to hit the reset button

    As bad as Tuesday’s performance was, the Bruins had been playing their best hockey of the season prior to the lopsided loss to the Hurricanes.

    Winners of eight of nine, Boston looked potent in almost every aspect as they separated themselves in the Eastern Conference wild card picture. Now that they’ve been on the opposite side of one of these types of games, the Bruins shouldn’t read too much into the defeat. Rather, they should focus on the positives they displayed throughout the first month of 2022.

    “I think you have to burn the tape on that one,” Bergeron said. “That was not our team. We got to be better. I think over the last few weeks, we’ve all seen how good we can be, the steps forward that we’ve taken, so obviously learn and rectify the things we have to be better at. But to me, it was just flat.”

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