The Boston Bruins took a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference Final after a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3. They’re now on the verge of their third Stanley Cup Final appearance in eight years and their second Conference Final sweep in the last six. In order for handshakes with the ‘Bunch of Jerks’ to happen following Game 4, Boston will need to clean up a couple of aspects of their game.
“We’re gonna watch video. (There are) a lot of things we can do better,” Patrice Bergeron told the media Wednesday.
The fourth win is always the toughest to get in a series. They do not hand out anything after three victories. The Bruins know Carolina will be even more desperate in Game 4. Boston is very detailed oriented in their approach to every game. Game 4 will be no different.
“Desperate team sure, Obviously fighting for their lives,” Torey Krug told the media post practice on Wednesday as he spoke on Carolina’s desperation. “We just got to prepare the right way. Stick to our guns and stick to what we do best.”
Boston has that killer instinct needed to close out a series. The Bruins veterans have been in this position before and know what it takes to win. They likely will be the reason the brooms will come out somewhere between 10:30-11 PM ET (barring overtime) Thursday night!
Keys to a Sweep for Boston:
- Don’t Let Up – Keep the Pressure Up – Bruce Cassidy can roll four lines throughout the game. A significant reason for that is the pressure that is applied by the fourth line. Game 3 hero Chris Wagner, blocked a shot and went back to Boston for further evaluation. Noel Acciari will take his place on the fourth line. Bruce Cassidy does not expect that line to miss a beat. “We don’t lose much. Cassidy told the media. “That line should keep on motoring.”
- “Weather the Early Storm” – If Boston thought Carolina brought its best in Game 3, think again. Carolina will deliver that and a whole lot more to avoid elimination. No team likes to get swept on home ice. Boston knows the Carolina team they saw in Game 3 is the team that got to this point for a reason. The Bruins will need to expect the Hurricanes to fire everything they have at Tuukka Rask.
- Limit Second and Third Chance Opportunities – Speaking of Tuukka Rask. He is has proven he is an elite goalie and so much more. Despite what his critics say. Rask’s rebound control has been excellent during the Bruins six-game win streak. When pucks do get through to Rask, he eats them up. The Bruins has limited Carolina’s second and third chance opportunities. The defense continues to clean up the garbage in front.
- Never Be Satisfied – Continue to Elevate Play – As Jimmy Murphy of BHN wrote the Bruins are never satisfied after wins. The players believe they can play better and elevate to another level. Boston has yet to reach its peak in the playoffs. “No ones really that happy because we know we haven’t really done anything yet so I think everyone is looking forward to the next one (game) already,” Joakim Nordstrom told the media after the Game 3 victory. If the Bruins have this mindset, they will win Game 4.
- Special Teams – In every series Special Teams is essential. That is an understatement in this series. A power play goal was the difference in each of the Bruins three victories thus far. Boston’s penalty kill was excellent in Game 3. Boston’s power play is on fire. The Bruins penalty kill continues to limit Carolina’s shots to the outside. And when the Bruins have critical defensive zone draws, the centers win them, and the defense gets the puck out of the zone right away.
It sounds cliche, but the Bruins need a better start. Boston cannot survive another first period from Game 3. The Bruins gave up 20 shots on 34 shot attempts. That has to be better for the Bruins to advance.
Boston will hope the ghosts of playoff past do not appear in Game 4. In 2010, the Bruins were up in 3-0 and lost to Philadelphia in seven games. They were in the same situation in Game 4 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Final but the goalie that should be the 2019 Conn Smythe leader right now, Tuukka Rask finished off what until this East Final, had been the most dominant series of his career. Rask will improve to 2-1 potential sweep clinchers tonight.