Here’s my take on another lopsided loss for the Boston Bruins to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Hurricanes got two goals a piece from Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter and 30 saves from rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov in a 5-2 win that put them up 2-0 in the series.
The series will now shift back to TD Garden in Boston for Game 3 on Friday night (7 PM ET) and Sunday (12:30 PM) but if the Boston Bruins don’t find a way to keep up with the speed of the Carolina Hurricanes and counter their ferocious forecheck, this series could be over Sunday. As I’ve said before, the Hurricanes have been champing at the bit to get another shot at the Boston Bruins in the playoffs after the Bruins sent them home in two of the last three seasons. That revenge factor has shown because the Hurricanes have played with way more purpose and passion.
The result has been the Canes out-scoring the Bruins 10-3 so far in the series. Combined with the regular season, the Hurricanes have gone 5-0 against the Boston Bruins and outscored them 26-4. The Bruins have had no answer for the constant presence the Canes have had in front of the net and on the flip side, the way the Hurricanes have pushed the Bruins to the outside and prevented them from getting to the interior.
One thing to look for in Game 3 is if the Bruins stop trying to react to the Hurricanes’ game and just play their own game. At times, the Carolina Hurricanes have been over-aggressive on the attack or trying to create an attack. If the Bruins can read the gaps that’s creating, they could turn them into odd-man rushes the other way. It will be interesting to see how head coach Bruce Cassidy and his staff adjust to this in Game 3.
What will also be interesting is whether or not Cassidy sticks with Linus Ullmark between the pipes or switches to rookie Jeremy Swayman? Ullmark was average at best again in Game 2, allowing four goals on 33 shots. Cassidy even called him out after the game saying “It would be nice if we got a timely save once in a while.”
We will also have to see how the Boston Bruins compensate for the expected loss of defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who left late in the second period after being in the receiving end of a vicious high hit from Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov. There was no update on his status after the game except that ‘he’s no doing well’