The Boston Bruins had to feel pretty good heading into Game 2 of their opening round Eastern Conference Playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes. They just won a huge double overtime game the day before via a Patrice Bergeron snipe (2nd goal for the top line) and the 2nd line of Kreiji-Kase-Debrusk looked dominate. Then came the news. David Pastrnak…out of the lineup. Unfit to play. WHAT?!?? There was much speculation as to the nature of the scratch, but it appears Pasta may have an upper body injury (watch the video of him celebrating the Wednesdays game winning goal) from game 1.
So the Bruins had to go without the NHL’s leading goal scorer. Anders Bjork slid into position on the top line, but it was a bit of a mix for much of the game as the top unit couldn’t find that “perfect chemistry”.
The Bruins did open the scoring, via a David Krejci power play marker at 15:41 of the first (assists, Marchand and Krug) in a solid first period of hockey. But this was a game of two halves. The Bruins played well for the 1st 30 minutes, and tested Reimer (who was in for Mrazek on back-to-back games) often with some good scoring chances.
The Hurricanes forecheck was good in the 2nd half and the Bruins get caught puck chasing on the PK leaving Teuro Teravainen wide open at the top of the right circle and he walks in to bury the PP goal to tie it up at 15:13 of the 2nd.
Just over a minute later, Carolina stops the Rask clearing attempt at the point, and bang, bang 2 quick passes and Andrei Svechnikov gives the Hurricanes the lead. Really nice goal and passing play at 16:41.
The Bruins manage to JUST get the goal back with 3.8 seconds left in the 2nd, when Bergeron rings one of the post but Marchand is there to tuck it into the yawning cage to get the boys in black back to even.
The Hurricanes were the better team throughout the 3rd, swarming the B’s net (with a crucial goaltender interference goal wave off at 16:34) and the Bruins looking disorganized in their own end under pressure. They break through when the Bruins, again caught puck chasing, leave Dougie Hamilton wide open in the right faceoff circle and he rips one over Rask glove side at 8:30 of the 3rd.
The Bruins tried desperately to tie it up, moving Charlie Coyle on the wing with Bergeron and Marchand, but it just wasn’t their night and they go down 3-2.
Obviously losing Pasta is huge and not only weakens the 1st line considerably, but also ripples down to the 3rd. But that is playoff hockey. Next man up and you have to find a way to get it done. In the end, they just were too sloppy on the back end, but were still one big Rask save away being right in it.
Coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed post game, Pasta did hurt himself in the previous game but believes it is not long term and they should know more today. Hopeful for his return for Saturday’s game 3. High noon (12 EST) for this one Bruins fan. Get your lunch (and lunch beers?) ready.