Bruins Take Game Three At Home

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 15: Nick Foligno #17 of the Boston Bruins skates in his 1,000th NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 15, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 15: Nick Foligno #17 of the Boston Bruins skates in his 1,000th NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 15, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Bruins hosted the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden Friday night for game three of the First Round. Carolina won both games one and two at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC, so there was a lot of pressure on the Bruins to pick up the win. The boys answered the call and were able to convince the hockey world that they are capable of making this series competitive. There is still a long way to go, but seeing the Bruins advance to the second round seems much more realistic after game three.

For the third time in a row, Carolina scored the first goal. Vincent Trocheck put one in the back of the net at the 10:43 mark of the first period for the Hurricanes. Charlie Coyle evened the score with a short-handed goal with 2:44 left in the first period. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak both scored in the second period to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. Taylor Hall scored on a power play early in the third period to give Boston a 4-1 lead. Jaccob Slavin scored a late goal for Carolina but it ended up not mattering. The Bruins were finally able to add one to the win column in the post season.

In the first two games, Boston had significantly more penalty minutes. They had 10 more minutes in the box in both games than the Hurricanes. In game three, both teams had 12 penalty minutes. Additionally, the Bruins were able to capitalize on power play opportunities more effectively in game three, scoring twice. Limiting the amount of time they are short-handed will go a long way towards making sure they have a chance in every game. The Bruins also need to find a way to be more consistent on the power play. One of the biggest reasons they could not find much success offensively in games one and two was abysmal power play results. Boston had a total of eight power play opportunities in games one and two and one goal to show for it. In game three however, they had five power-play opportunities and scored on two of them.

Carolina dominated the Bruins in face-offs in both games one and two, but the Bruins were able to control them in game three. Winning a face-off is important and the Bruins need to control that category again to be successful in game four.

Looking ahead to game four, both teams are dealing with injuries. For Carolina, Antti Raanta and Jordan Martinook are both day-to-day. For Boston, Hampus Lindholm is listed as out and Jesper Froden is day-to-day. Lindholm left game two early with an apparent upper-body injury. He did not play in game three, and is not expected to play in game four. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said, “He’s feeling better”. He added, “He won’t play (Sunday). But he’s feeling better, he’s here.” With Lindholm out, Charlie McAvoy is going to need all the help he can get from the rest of the defense. Mike Reilly will likely play alongside McAvoy on the first defensive pair. Guys like Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton will be expected to carry a heavier load as well.

For the Bruins to even up the series before heading back to Raleigh, another fast start is imperative. Playing a physical yet disciplined style of hockey will also give the Bruins their best chance of success tomorrow afternoon. It would be encouraging to see them score the first goal for the first time this series. In addition, it would be nice to see the Bruins control the game from start to finish, much like Carolina was able to do in the first two games. The Hurricanes are a team that can put a lot of pucks in the back of the net, so the Bruins will need to score as frequently as possible. Carolina has been known to erase leads this season so the foot needs to be on the gas at all times.

There are some Bruins players who will be expected to lead the way as they try to even up the series. The perfection line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak is expected to be back together. It has been broken up at times this season in an attempt to generate production in the second line. If they play together, goals will be expected. Jeremy Swayman will likely be in net for Boston tomorrow. If he can make the Hurricanes work as hard as they had to on Friday night, the Bruins will be in good shape. The defense will need to step it up again as was previously mentioned. Lastly, production from Taylor Hall and Jake Debrusk will be a difference maker. The Bruins tend to do a lot better when these guys are putting up points, so that will be a big factor in game four.

Boston has a lot to build on after game three, that certainly could not be said about games one or two. If the Bruins can stick to the game plan in game four there is no reason they cannot even the series. They just need a fast start, to stay out of the box, capitalize on power-play opportunities and I like their chances. Another good performance from Jeremy Swayman will go along way towards keeping the game close. The puck drops at 12:30 ET on ESPN. The Bruins have a great opportunity to have all of the momentum on their side as they head back to Raleigh for game five.