The Eastern Conference Finals didn’t start out on the right foot for the Carolina Hurricanes, as the Canes dropped game one on the road to the Boston Bruins 5-2 Thursday night in the TD Garden.
The Hurricanes held a 2-1 lead heading into the final period, but the Bruins tallied four unanswered goals to seal the game and grab the advantage in the series.
Forwards Sebastian Aho and Greg McKegg tallied for the Hurricanes, while Boston got goals from defenseman Steven Kampfer and forwards Marcus Johansson, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner.
Special teams played a big role in the game, as three of the seven goals came on the power play. Carolina, which has been struggling mightily with a man advantage all postseason, went 1 for 3 on the power play, while Boston was 2 for 5.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was solid in net all night for Boston, stopping 29 of 31 shots faced to pick up the win. Canes netminder Petr Mrazek, returning from an injury, stopped 23 of 27 shots faced.
Boston opened up the series’ scoring 2:55 into the opening period as defenseman Steven Kampfer wristed the puck past Mrazek after being set up coming into the offensive zone by Johansson.
The Bruins goal came courtesy of a bad Carolina turnover on the other end. After the Canes won an offensive zone faceoff, defenseman Justin Faulk lost the puck leading to a Boston break and the Kampfer goal.
Carolina didn’t take long to answer the Bruins’ opener though, with Aho tipping a power-play goal into the roof of the net less than a minute later. Canes forward Jordan Staal won an offensive zone faceoff back to forward Andrei Svechnikov, who fired a shot on net. Aho got a stick on the shot to send the puck past Rask.
The Hurricanes grabbed a 2-1 lead midway through the second period, as McKegg sniped a shot under the arm of Rask for a score. McKegg went crashing into Rask, but the puck clearly crossed the goal line prior to the contact and the goal stood.
Things unraveled for the Canes in the third period, as Boston scored two power-play goals within the first three minutes of the period to take a lead that it wouldn’t surrender.
Canes forward Jordan Staal took a boarding penalty just 49 seconds into the period, and the Bruins tied things up as Johansson cleaned up a netmouth scramble a minute and a half later to tie it at 2-2.
Only 15 seconds after the Johansson goal, the Bruins again took a man advantage. Canes defenseman Dougie Hamilton got called for roughing on former Hurricane Joakim Nordstrom.
Bergeron notched his sixth goal of the playoffs 13 seconds later, snapping a shot past Mrazek off a strong feed from the circle off the stick of forward Brad Marchand.
Boston added an empty netter with 2:13 left in the game from Coyle. The Bruins made it 5-2 thanks to Wagner, who used a great stick move to finish past Mrazek.
The Hurricanes and Bruins will faceoff in the TD Garden for game two Sunday afternoon before the series shifts to Raleigh for two games starting next Tuesday night.