Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1: Boston
After disposing of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 7 games, then the Columbus Blue Jackets in 6 games, the Bruins now take on the Carolina Hurricanes for a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. As the game got underway, the Bruins looked like they were ready to play. Early on in the first period, they controlled the tempo of the game with a lot of offensive zone time. It could have been the time off that made Carolina look a bit slow to start this game, but they soon found their legs. Before they would do that the Bruins would get on the board first after Steven Kampfer buried a shot past Petr Mrazek. Kampfer playing in only his second career playoff game in his 9th NHL season, got in the lineup tonight replacing the suspended Charlie McAvoy, and made an impact right away. As Marcus Johansson was able to steal the puck and race into the offensive zone, he pulled up and waited for a rushing Kampfer who skated down the slot with the puck and fired it home.
Unfortunately with the great start and early lead for the Bruins, the Hurricanes would wake up. They would respond to the Boston goal less than a minute later when Sebastian Aho tipped home a shot past Tuukka Rask on their first power play of the night only 3 seconds into the man advantage. The remainder of the first period saw chances by both teams with the Bruins getting the better of those chances.
In the second period of this game the tides definitely turned. The Hurricanes looked like the much better team throughout the period. They would eventually get the lead halfway through the period when Greg McKegg would fire a shot at Tuukka who seemed to save it, but McKegg was pushed directly into Rask who would knock the puck in the net and take the goal off its moorings. It was ruled a good goal and it was clear that it should have counted, the refs did not miss this one.
In the third period things changed once again and it was all Bruins. With an early power play opportunity after Chris Wagner drew a boarding penalty, the Bruins set up shop on their third power play of the night. They looked much better in this power play than then did in almost any opportunity against Columbus. Marcus Johannson would tie the game when he was able to get a rebound from a Brad Marchand shot and shoot it past Mrazek. Less than a minute after the goal, the Bruins would get another power play after Dougie Hamilton took a penalty. They would score once again when Patrice Bergeron was in the bumper position and fired a one-timer that gave the Bruins the lead.
The Hurricanes went to work right away at trying to tie the game backup, but the Bruins team defense went to work in front of a solid wall in Tuukka Rask. Eventually the Canes would empty their net for the extra attacker with two and a half minutes left. After a battle for the puck in the neutral zone, Brandon Carlo would clip the puck into the zone, but it took a deflection or two, picked up some momentum and found its way into the back of the net. Right off the next faceoff, the Bruins would get control of the puck forcing the Canes to leave Mrazek in net and Chris Wagner would sneak in and dangle past Mrazek for the 5-2 lead and final score.
Tuukka Rask was great again tonight, and while he let up two goals, they were tough shots one being a net-front deflection where your defense somewhat left you out to dry, and the other being when Tuukka was slammed into. Other than that, he was phenomenal tonight as he essentially kept the Bruins into the game in the second period. When the Bruins fell asleep he remained locked in and saved them from a big loss in game 1.
The Bruins have a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals and hopefully they build on this win tonight. They have to come out just as strong in game 2 and not let Carolina steal a game on the road. If they can head to Carolina with a 2-0 lead, taking just one game on the road will set up the Bruins nicely to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
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