The Boston Bruins can punch their ticket to the Second Round for the third straight postseason this afternoon. With a victory in Game 5, the Bruins will eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes and advance to the Second Round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Boston Bruins took the stranglehold thanks to a four-goal third period outburst on Monday night. The Bruins hung on to win Game 4 4-3.
Puck drop is set for 4:00 pm on NBCSN, NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
PASTRNAK “BETTER” CHANCE AT GAME 5
David Pastrnak missed his third consecutive game on Monday night. The co-Rocket Richard Trophy winner appeared to injure himself celebrating the overtime winner in Game 1, and has not played since. He was a late, and surprising, scratch ahead of Game 2.
Seven days after injuring himself, Pastrnak could return to the lineup. He took to the ice on Tuesday for a practice that did not feature Patrice Bergeron or Brad Marchand.
“He skated today, made it through practice, did a few battle drills,” Cassidy said of Pastrnak. “Some of that will depend on how he feels in the morning, if there’s residual effect. And then we’ll make a decision. The other day we thought he had an outside chance. Now I’d give it better than that. So, we’ll have to make a decision in the morning.”
For the third time in the series, the Bruins and Hurricanes will have an early puck drop. Game 1 began at 11:00 am, while Game 3 was at 12:00 pm on Saturday. Game 4 will begin at 4:00 pm on Wednesday. That means a normal day of preparation is out of the question for David Pastrnak.
“Four o’clock game is tough,” Cassidy admitted. “You go seven or eight, you get to test it out in the morning. That’ll be the challenge for the medical stuff, but if we feel he’s 100% – no risk of further injury, he’ll be in the lineup.”
As for his two veteran linemates, Cassidy said did not seem alarmed. In fact the coach “anticipates” both will be fine for Game 5.
The four goals from Monday night’s third period will get all the headlines. The play that changed the course of the game, however, very likely was Charlie McAvoy’s thunderous hit on Jordan Staal. The hit changed momentum, and took Staal out of the game.
“You have to be able to create your own energy on the bench. Going into that third period and obviously you’re down two and the game hadn’t really been in our favor,” McAvoy began when asked about the hit. “We had some chances and stuff but we were looking to create some energy and that was kind of the message – that we weren’t out of it. It was opportunity to step up and make a hit, try and separate a man from the puck.
“We were already playing well. And just to see so many guys step up and make tremendous plays tonight when it really mattered to get us a win was just so awesome to see. It really lifts the spirit of the team.”
That kind of momentum-altering hit isn’t something fans are used to seeing from McAvoy. For Cassidy, it’s exactly what he was looking from from his young stud defenseman.
“We talked to him about this at the start of the playoffs. We need his legs, we need his physicality every night,” Cassidy said Tuesday. He probably will be tipping up against 25, 26 minutes whereas in the year, we try to balance him a little better. But this time of the year, some guys are going to see a little more and he’s that guy that has definitely seen it. Kudos to him for handling it and I think Charlie is a more mature guy.”
TURN THE PAGE
Rod Brind’Amour borrowed a famous phrase from Bob Seeger on Tuesday. Game 5 is all about turning the page for the Hurricanes, who face elimination for the first time this summer.
“Turn the page,” the second-year coach said. “Try to really just ooze a little joy and have some fun. It’s been a tough day and it was a tough night. That day’s long gone now and we need to remember this is a game and you got to have some fun with it. Try to do that, get a little sweat and get ready for tomorrow.”
Whether it was the McAvoy hit, Jake DeBrusk’s two goals or Connor Clifton’s snipe to tie the game, momentum was stolen from the Hurricanes on Monday. Brind’Amour is hoping it doesn’t carry over to Game 5.
“I’m not sure how much momentum is gained or lost from one game or another. I think it’s a new day,” Brind’Amour told reporters. “We need to start fresh. We’re the team with their backs against the wall. We have nothing to lose at this point, so we want to make sure we’re going down giving it everything we have if that’s what ends up happening, but certainly I want to see us play a 60-minute game.
“That’s a great team we’re playing and we need to make it hard for them for the whole game and see what happens. The message is the same as it’s always been. You try to win every game. We just know we don’t have any tomorrow, so the desperation is going to have to be there for us right from the start.”
BOSTON BRUINS LINES
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Andres Bjork
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase
Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle – Jack Studnicka
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
Boston Bruins lines are subject to change. Halak will get the start in goal, while Clifton is expected to remain in for Jeremy Lauzon. Up front, the only potential change would appear to be Pastrnak returning.
CAROLINA HURRICANES LINES
Jordan Martinook – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Ryan Dzingel – Vincent Trocheck – Justin Williams
Warren Foegele – Jordan Staal – Brock McGinn
Nino Niederreiter – Morgan Geekie – Martin Necas
Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei – Sami Vatanen
Jake Gardiner – Haydn Fleury
Carolina Hurricanes lines are subject to change.