Boston coach Bruce Cassidy hoped that a return to home ice would give the Bruins a much-needed boost after losing the first two games of their first-round playoff series with the Carolina Hurricanes.
That’s exactly what happened as the Bruins scored four straight goals — with Brad Marchand scoring one and assisting on two others — over the second and third periods in a 4-2 win Friday in Game 3.
Boston will look to maintain its momentum at home and knot the best-of-seven series in a Sunday matinee.
“I think we were a generally calm group (on Friday). We know what’s at stake,” Cassidy said. “The crowd gives you a lift, obviously. … You’re going to have ups and downs. When (Marchand) scored (the go-ahead goal), that’s a big lift for us.”
The Bruins hope that lift and others will carry into Game 4 and beyond.
Among them, Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves to become just the third goalie in Bruins history to win his first-ever postseason start on home ice.
“I don’t think (his calm demeanor) will change,” Cassidy said of Swayman, who has formed a great tandem with Linus Ullmark all season. Ullmark started the first two games of the series.
“We knew that about him,” the coach added. “Right up until the end, we weren’t sure who our Game 1 starter was going to be. We just thought Ullmark had the better finish. (Swayman) worked on his game in between. (It’s hard because) you never know if you’re going to get another shot if a guy gets hot.”
After relieving injured Antti Raanta during Game 2, Carolina’s Pyotr Kochetkov also made his first postseason start and turned aside 24 shots.
Despite the loss, Carolina’s goaltending was a non-issue.
“You can’t blame (Kochetkov) for any of the goals — a back-door tap-in and great players ripping shots from good areas,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “… If you give too many looks to those guys, they’re going to make you pay eventually.”
The Canes expected an urgent opponent, and that’s what they got.
Along with Marchand, Charlie Coyle (short-handed), David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall (both on the power play) scored for Boston.
“We knew they were going to be desperate. In the playoffs, you have to be,” said defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who scored Carolina’s second goal. “We got away from our game a little bit. The special teams battle is what cost us the game.”
Carolina could move forward without a fourth-line forward as Jordan Martinook (lower body) exited Friday’s game after a collision in the second period.
“He looked pretty rough in there,” Brind’Amour said.
Physical play has been another major key to the series, but it stood out in a different way in Game 3. Boston blocked 29 shots as a team, including a whopping nine by defenseman Derek Forbort.
“(Forbort is) one of those guys who plays the game that guys don’t want to play,” said Marchand, who has 46 career postseason goals. “He sacrifices every night for the group. Those are the guys you win with in the playoffs.”
Dating back to last postseason, Carolina had won its four previous games when scoring first.
“They’re going to elevate,” Marchand said. “They’re a good team. It’s what they’ve done all year. … When you look at the games that we played in Carolina, we know they’re going to be better so we have to be better, too.”
–Field Level Media