For the second time in just three playoff series this year, the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves in a 2-0 hole, as the Boston Bruins obliterated the Canes 6-2 in the TD Garden Sunday afternoon to grab a firm hold of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Hurricanes, who also lost games one and two of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals, couldn’t do anything right against the Bruins Sunday. Boston dominated all facets of the game, but was particularly strong when it came to special teams play; the Bruins went 2 for 2 on the power play, while the Canes were an abysmal 0 for 4.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask was phenomenal in net for the Bruins, stopping 21 of 23 shots faced with the Canes two goals both coming well after the game was wrapped up. For the Canes, Petr Mrazek had one of his worst outings in a Carolina jersey, letting up all six goals while making 19 saves.
Canes head coach Rod Brind’Amour hasn’t pulled the goalie for a poor performance all season, but after Mrazek let up four over the first two periods it seemed it could be the right time to go to Curtis McElhinney, who was great in Carolina’s last series filling in for an injured Mrazek. However, Brind’Amour elected to stick with his starter, who saw two more goals go past him in the final period.
The Canes started the game off well and were arguably the better team for the opening 15 minutes, but that was the only good stretch Carolina would have. Boston opened up the scoring with just under five minutes to play in the first period, as defenseman Matt Grzelcyk wristed a very saveable shot through Mrazek’s five-hole.
Boston added a power-play goal to make it 2-0 heading into the first intermission. Canes captain Justin Williams took a smart tripping penalty to take away an easy scoring chance for the Bruins, but the effort didn’t matter. Six seconds into the power play forward Jake DeBrusk found the back of the net after collecting the rebound off a shot from forward David Pastrnak.
Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton tallied his first-career goal to make it 3-0, collecting the rebound off of a weird deflection and firing into a wide-open net, as Mrazek had tried to make an aggressive play on the puck and was caught out of position. Grzelcyk backhanded home his second goal of the game, a power-play tally, to make it 4-0 heading into the second intermission.
Forwards David Backes and Danton Heinen both added goals in the first five minutes of the third period, giving Boston a 6-0 lead. With Heinen’s tally, Boston made it 10 straight goals scored in the series dating back to the third period of game one.
Carolina broke that Boston streak late in the game, as Williams and forward Teuvo Teravainen both found the back of the net in garbage time to make the 6-0 scoreline a slightly more respectable 6-2.
The series will now shift back to Raleigh, as game three will be Tuesday night in front of the Hurricanes faithful in PNC Arena. For the Canes, a return to home ice should be a welcome sight. Carolina is yet to lose inside of PNC this postseason and will need some more of that home magic if it wants to get itself back into this series.