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Five Takeaways: Boston Bruins Demoralize Carolina Hurricanes



Over the past nine years, there’s been plenty of times where the Boston Bruins make their fans and their opponents feel like Michael Corleone

Just when it looked like the Bruins would allow the Carolina Hurricanes to tie their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at two games apiece, the Bruins leadership, character, and skill pulled their fans back in again and pulled off another comeback win demoralizing the Hurricanes The Bruins erased a two-goal deficit, exploding for four goals in the third period to beat the Hurricanes 4-3 and take a commanding three games to one lead in this best of seven series. The Bruins will have a chance to clinch the series on Wednesday at 4 PM ET in the Toronto bubble. 

Jake DeBrusk scored twice for the Bruins while Brad Marchand scored his third goal of the series and Connor Clifton lit the lamp and added a helper. Ondrej Kase finished with two assists.

Jordan Martinook and Justin Williams each scored for the Hurricanes.

Jaro Halak had a so-so night stopping 16 of 19 Carolina shots and James Reimer made 29 saves for the Hurricanes.

Third Period The Charm For Boston Bruins

Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour pretty much summed up what it was like to be on the opposite end of that third period momentum swing and onslaught from the Boston Bruins.

“We just. … we weren’t ready to continue to do that dig in that we needed to do, little battles,” a bewildered Brind’Amour said after watching his team blow a 2-0 lead and chance to tie the series at two games apiece. “They threw everything at us and we didn’t have an answer. It was tough to watch that’s for sure. I love this team, I love my guys. We learned a lesson today, though. 

You know I got to take the good always with this group, and it’s been mostly good for me for a year and a half, two years, with the effort and the way they play, and I got to take the bad on this one. It wasn’t good. You know we just sat back and we let them take it to us, and you know that’s what championship teams do, they take it to you. So you know we got to learn from that for sure but this one is going to sting for a while.”

After two periods of doing everything but score and being tied in shots with the Hurricanes at 17 apiece, the floodgates finally opened for the Bruins. The Bruins exploded for four goals in a 6:51 span of the third period. They would end up outshooting the Hurricanes 16-2 and the period and actually had a 13-0 shot edge 14 minutes through the final frame. As the onslaught continued, the Hurricanes clearly became demoralized and were left in shock before they were able to sneak one in with 1:27 left in regulation. It was too little too late though as the Bruins held on for the win. 

Once again leadership and character paved the way for a comeback win by the Boston Bruins.

“We have a ton of character in our room,” Marchand said following the game. “We didn’t plan on coming back in the first minute of that period. We always say it’s a process and we continue to build every shift and that’s what we did. We just continued to impose our will and play our game. And when we play like that, we’re a tough team to play.”

DeBrusk Finally Breaks Through

Truth be told, this takeaway was going to be me asking if it’s time to make DeBrusk a healthy scratch? I started writing it seven minutes into the third period and with the Bruins trailing 2-0 and 26 ticks later DeBrusk had broken through up the middle and just around Reimer who had come out to try and beat DeBrusk to the puck. The play and goal weren’t just perfect timing for a Bruins team that had done everything but score but also for DeBrusk who has been hard luck Jake throughout much of this series. 

DeBrusk wasn’t finished though as he cut across the front of the net and beat Reimer for a 4-2 Bruins lead at 7:26 of the final frame.

Speaking of character, Marchand said DeBrusk showed plenty of it in Game 4!

“He kind of thrives when he gets a goal, gets a bounce. He feeds off of that and gets a ton of confidence,” Marchand said of his younger teammate. “That’s when he’s at his best. We just knew he needed one and he’s been all around it. He’s been playing really well. Has had a lot of really good, prime opportunities that he normally puts in. He came up big when we need it. He did a great job tonight. He really stepped up in a big way. I love the fire even – he starts battling a lot harder and competing harder and he was more engaged in the game. A great game by him tonight. We needed him to step up and he did and came through when it mattered.”

Mr. August Stays Hot

With his recent playoff performances, I have called Marchand Mr. May or Mr. June but now during baseball season, it has even more of a baseball feel being Mr. August. Marchand continued his torrid play in this series by scoring the game-winner at 11:40 of the final frame. It was typical Marchand hustle that led to defenseman Torey Krug being able to hit him with the home run pass for the breakaway.

Cliffy Hockey Is Back For Boston Bruins

Due to Clifton playing just one game since December 29, Cassidy played Jeremy Lauzon instead of Clifton for two of the three round-robin games and then the first two games of this series. In Game 3 though, Clifton was back in replacing Lauzon and played a solid game finishing a plus 1 with five hits in 13:56 of play. Cassidy has praised Clifton for both his physical play and puck-moving play and both came through in Game 4. Clifton finished with a goal and an assist was a plus 2 and had three hits in 14:37 of play. His goal at 10:10 of the third period tied the game at two and opened the floodgates even more for the Bruins.

“Cliffy, he wanted to let the coaching staff and myself personally know that he can do it and they can get the job done, so I was very happy for him,” Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I mean, he’s come into the lineup, hasn’t played a lot of hockey, couple points tonight, big goal for us.”

McAvoy’s Hit Helped Change Momentum

Just minutes after DeBrusk’s first goal, and moments before Clifton tied it at two, Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy absolutely rocked Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal with a hit reminiscent of Boston Bruins legend Johnny Bucyk’s classic open-ice hip checks. The Bruins bench erupted and the Hurricanes were suddenly without one of their leaders and best defensive forward. Staal would not return. 

“Well from my standpoint you know clearly [Jake] DeBrusk scoring, I mean we’re having a really tough time, especially five on five, so that started it for us,” Cassidy said. “Now we’re back in the game right, we got a chance. And then the McAvoy hit. I think we were playing and we were going to push and we were pushing, so obviously it helps us a lot, but I think it really demoralizes the other team. 

When one of your veteran players, a leader in your room, or really a respected player in this league, takes a good hard clean hit like I said it affects your group. So it affected us positively and probably them in a negative manner. They lose a guy that’s a shutdown centerman and had been doing a really good job against Bergy’s line that game, so for us, it really helped.”

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