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Five Takeaways: Bruins Leaders Deliver As Hurricanes Get Halaked

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No Tuukka Rask. No David Pastrnak. No problem for the Boston Bruins. Just a few hours after finding out that their starting goalie had opted out of the NHL bubble and the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs and playing without their leading scorer for a second straight game, the Bruins gutted out a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 Saturday to take a 2-1 series lead. 

In his first playoff start since April 27, 2015 when he made 26 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, Jaro Halak came up big for the Bruins with a 29-save performance. Halak’s teammates and specifically the veteran core rallied around him and delivered another gut-check win. Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle each had a goal and an assist, Sean Kuraly scored a shorthanded-goal and David Krejci had two helpers in the win.

With Game 4 Monday and Game 5 Tuesday, here’s a look back at what could be a galvanizing win when all is said and done with your BHN Five Takeaways:

Halak Shines In Bruins Playoff Debut

If not for a stick-handling and clearing gaffe that led to the lone Hurricanes goal, Halak may have actually gotten a shutout but following the win, he owned his mistake and expressed gratitude for his teammates picking him back up.  

“Mistakes, they happen. We try to make the right play out there and I saw an opening, I tried to shoot it out and you know, the guy caught it,” Halak said following the game. “It ended up in the net, but you know, we just – we were still up. I know I gave them a little bit of life, but I think we responded the right way. And we kept playing our game until the end. You have to give credit to our guys, just stepping up. Guys coming into the lineup and playing hard. That’s playoff hockey.”

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said that he and his teammates have always had confidence in both Rask and Halak and given Halak’s playoff experience, he wasn’t surprised with the game he turned in Saturday.

“Well, we always had you know high confidence in both of our goalies and that hasn’t changed,” Chara said. “You know I think that we all know the experiences Jaro has from playoffs. You know he’s a proven goalie and he’s done a number of times and shown a number of times that he can handle these situations. Like I said, we always rely on our goalies throughout our seasons and that hasn’t changed.”

Leadership Comes Through For Bruins Again

After Halak misplayed that puck to Nino Niederreiter and the Hurricanes cut the Bruins’ lead to 2-1, Marchand gathered everyone together on the bench and rallied his team to get Halak’s back and bring home the win. That leadership and pride never cease to amaze Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Yeah that’s a good word, proud because that’s the first word I used after the game that you know proud of Jaro for answering the call on short notice, proud of the young guys that are playing, some of the like [Par] Lindholm and not that he’s young, but it’s you know first real [action],” Cassidy said. “Jack Studnicka, [Connor] Clifton comes into the lineup, proud of the way they responded and proud of the way the whole team played. 

Jaro, he tried to get the clear, they read it well, but right away on the bench Brad Marchand stands up, hey that’s not going to hurt us, we’re fine, we’re playing well. That’s true the whole bench was like that. I think there was no collective let down like, oh boy here it comes. You know we know we’re playing our game you know from the second period on. First period enough, we bent, we didn’t break, but our guys knew when we have our game when we’re playing Bruins hockey, so that wasn’t going to deter us from keep going forward. That doesn’t mean you’re going to win but you got to keep playing the way you’re playing and I thought it showed. And again good response from our guys after a little bit of adversity.”

Cassidy Not Afraid To Depend On Coyle

Ever since Coyle arrived in Boston via a trade with the Minnesota Wild just prior to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline, he has shown what a driving force he can be for his linemates and down low on offense. As time has gone by though, Coyle has shown his versatility and two-way game is solid enough for Cassidy to not only trust him at even strength and on the powerplay but also on the penalty kill. In Game 2, Coyle scored a powerplay goal that put the Bruins up 1-0 14 seconds into the second period and then assisted on Kuraly’s shorthander 1:16 into the third period. 

“We need Charlie Coyle to be an effective player for us, an impact player,” Cassidy said after the game. “He doesn’t have to dominate every night, I don’t think anybody does on our team, but you know we still need secondary scoring. He went on the first unit, we’ve moved him and Jake [DeBrusk] around there with ‘Pasta’ [Pastrnak] out, we’ve got a new look with ‘Marchy’ [Marchand] in front. We’ll have to look at and see how much we generated. I know we got a big goal out of it, that’s to me is timely scoring on the power play, not always the percentage, and today it mattered.”

“The shorthanded goal I think I understand they gave it to [Sean] Kuraly but by the same token, Charlie was a big part of that. He’s added to our penalty kill. When he first got here we didn’t give him as much responsibility there, we had other guys in the lineup, but he’s kind of pushed his way into that conversation so good for him. You know that means he’s playing PP, PK, and driving a line with Jack Studnicka tonight, a young guy. It was [Anders] Bjork in the past, it’s been [Nick] Ritchie who hasn’t been here a long time so the onus kind of falls on him to be the leader of that line. So that’s what we expect out of Charlie, play well in all those situations. Tonight we got some offense, great we need it, and again proved himself last year in the playoffs a guy that we can rely on and he’s proven to be that again.”

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Krejci and Marchand Heating Up

Time and time again, Krejci has proven he is a playoff player and can step up in the clutch. He led the team in points when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 with 23 points in 25 games and then again in 2013 with 26 points in 22 games when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup final. Through three playoff games in Toronto, Krejci and Marchand each have two goals and four assists. The two connected on Marchand’s empty-netter with 31 seconds left in regulation to seal the 3-1 win.

Cassidy Shuffles Roster

As it usually does when Cassidy shuffles his roster, it paid off again in Game 3 as Clifton, Studnicka and Lindholm played solid two-way games and helped the team pull out a gutsy win. Here’s how the Bruins lined up on Saturday:

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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