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  • Bruins-Hurricanes: what we learned from Boston’s sloppy loss

    Tim Rosenthal April 10, 2024

    For the last month, the Boston Bruins acquainted themselves with the playoff-like grind accordingly.

    Over the last two weeks, in particular, Jim Montgomery’s club earned victories through various means against teams fighting for playoff positioning. But they also endured some hiccups and setbacks against some of the heavier squads they’ve faced during the last month.

    With a mix of speed, skill and heavy checking, the Carolina Hurricanes possess several traits the Bruins struggled with during previous postseason eliminations. And unlike their last meeting just five days prior, the B’s entered chase mode during a sluggish second period.

    Despite beginning the middle 20 with two timely kills against Carolina’s second-ranked power play, the Bruins succumbed to another round of leaks in front of the net.

    In a 2:10 span, the Bruins faced a 2-0 hole after Andrei Svechnikov completed his latest lacrosse-style goal and Teuvo Teravinen banked home a rebound.


    Charlie McAvoy pulled the Bruins within striking distance with 3:04 left in the second, one-timing a Jakub Lauko feed off a broken play for his second goal in as many games. 

    The Bruins showed a little life, pushing for the equalizer in the final 20. But a round of blunders from Pavel Zacha en route to Carolina’s third tally halted any hopes of a Boston comeback.

    Seth Jarvis added more insurance on a shorthanded breakaway, corralling a follow-through attempt off the boards past Jeremy Swayman to cap off Carolina’s 4-1 triumph.

    Here’s what we learned after the Hurricanes snapped Boston’s four-game win streak.

    Boston’s breakouts and power play were sloppy.

    The Bruins looked physically engaged through the first 20 minutes. But amid their numerous heavy hits, they struggled to find their touch in transition or within their attacking zone setup.

    Both teams landed four shots on net in the opening 20. But as the Bruins struggled to find their rhythm, the Hurricanes eventually developed healthier habits after Boston’s PK killed off two early Carolina power plays early in the middle frame.

    The Bruins tried to stay within striking distance. But the B’s struggled to remain afloat against a Carolina squad that thrives on playing the frontrunner role.

    “They’re well coached, and they’re a great team. We just have to accept that,” Swayman said. “It’s obviously not something we want to do in our home barn, but I think it’s good for us moving forward, understanding that no team is going to be soft on us.”

    The Bruins weren’t necessarily soft after facing Carolina for the second time in five days. But they weren’t effective either, committing 18 giveaways in Tuesday’s setback.

    Their breakout and passing issues at 5v5 translated into yet another struggling performance out of the power play. Their recent stagnant outing reared its ugly head late in the third when Jarvis sprung free on a breakaway to essentially put the game out of reach.

    “I think we got them last time in their barn, and they seemed ready to play,” Frederic said of the Hurricanes. “You gotta give them credit. It was a tight-checking game to start, and it seemed like they kind of took over in the second, and obviously, they got some in the third, too.”

    The Bruins may face another clinching scenario when they begin their final three-game-in-four-night stretch in Pittsburgh on Saturday. But the playoff-like intensity will continue against a resurgent Penguins bunch that clawed their way back into contention for one of the two final spots in the East.

    Swayman isn’t quite in playoff form.

    Without Swayman and Linus Ullmark, the Bruins would’ve likely been in fringe playoff territory, especially during the first half of the season.

    As a result, the younger half of the dynamic tandem earned his first career All-Star weekend appearance. But both Swayman and Ullmark encountered a drop off during Boston’s swoon come out of the break.

    Instead of repeatedly bailing them out, Swayman and Ullmark looked human and more prone to game management mishaps. But, over the last month, Ullmark reverted to his Vezina form from a year ago.

    Swayman, while stringing together a couple of solid starts of late, hasn’t sustained the same pace as Ullmark. And as Tuesday proved, the former University of Maine standout still has a little ways to go to rounding into playoff form.

    “It’s our job to get punched in the face and then get back up,” Swayman said. 

    Swayman didn’t have as poor of an outing comparably. But the last month showed some recent disparity between Ullmark and Swayman. 

    Given the recent rotational schedule, Swayman appears on track to make only more start over Boston’s final three games. But the odds of anyone pulling another lacrosse-style goal on Swayman or Ullmark will remain a longshot.

    Svechnikov sets tone with latest ‘Michigan’ tally.

    Between the turnovers and some hiccups around the front net, the Bruins didn’t help Swayman’s cause. And while Swayman made a handful of Grade-A stops, the highly-skilled Hurricanes eventually broke through with another highlight-reel marker from one of their top offensive weapons. 

    The ‘Canes found their footing in the attacking zone through the first half of the middle frame. Eventually, their skating and forechecking created enough chaos for Svechnikov to pull another ‘Michigan’ attempt.

    Boston’s D arrived late to Svechnikov. Swayman was also tardy as he tried to move from post to post. His worst nightmare indeed became true.


    “He’s so good at that, I couldn’t believe that,” Swayman said. “It’s my goal to never get Michigan’d, so that was put in the toilet today.”

    Swayman may get another attempt at Svechnikov down the line. But the Bruins may very well face a similarly skilled team in a couple of weeks.

    Right now, they’re on track to face the battle-tested Lightning in Round 1. The Hurricanes may not have as much of a playoff track record as Tampa Bay, but they possess enough similarities that could give the Bruins even more fits in a potential seven-game series.

    “I give them credit,” Montgomery said. “They checked, and that’s what we’re going to see in the playoffs.”

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    Tim Rosenthal

    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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