NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game #1 Recap

The Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes met at TD Bank Garden in Boston tonight having taken two similar paths to arrive in the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Bruins defeated the Leafs in Round 1 in seven games and followed it up with a 4-2 series win over the Bluejackets.  Their counterpart Hurricanes stared down a 2-0 deficit against the Capitals in Round 1 and then preceded to rattle off wins in the next eight of nine games. 

The Hurricanes had an emotional lift before Game 1  as Petr Mrazek returned between the pipes.  Mrazek was knocked out of Game 2 against the Islanders in Round 1 of the playoffs. Athough Curtis McElhinney played lights out, its always nice to get your #1 goaltender back to start such an important series.

Mrazek showed a little bit of nerves giving up a goal only three minutes into the game.  Johansson entered the zone with the puck and made a beautiful pass to a trailing Kampfer who skated in and put one past the rusty net-minder.  Although he let up an early goal the defense did not do him any help just allowing Kampfer to skate right up the center of the ice.

Mrazek’s teammates would redeem themselves just :27 seconds later during a power play when Sebastian Aho deflected a shot/pass from Svechnikov past Tuukka Rask.  Even though both Mrazek and Rask gave up early goals both settled in and looked determined to chalk up the goals allowed to nerves.

The Hurricanes out shot the Bruins 10-8 in the 1st period.

The first part of the 2nd period belonged to the Hurricanes, having six scoring chances to the Bruins one in the first seven minutes of the period.  The Bruins fought back a little until McKegg skated in alone and scored, but he could not hold his blade and crashed into Rask prompting Bruins fans to argue for a goalie interference call.  I will say in the previous weeks the refs have made some horrible calls, however, this was clearly the right call as the puck crossed the line before any contact was made.

The lone opportunity for the Bruins in the 2nd period was during a late power play from an interference call on Micheal Ferland with 3:03 left in the period..  The entire Boston Bruins team kept the offensive zone for the whole power play, as well as the last minute of the period but could not get one past Mrazek.  In fact the Hurricanes probably had the best chance late with a 2 on 1 short-handed opportunity.

Again, the Hurricanes out shot the Bruins in the 2nd, 15-10 and took a 2-1 lead into the locker room.  The silver lining for the Bruins was they were able to get some momentum to take with them.

In the first 5:30 of the 3rd period the Hurricanes lost the game.   It started with a horrible decision from Jordan Stall to board Chris Wagner only :49 into the period.  The Bruins were given life and they seized the moment.  Johansson fired one into the goal during a scrum in front of Mrazek to tie the game 2-2.

You wold think that the Hurricanes would have a quick talk about being careful not to take any more penalties, however, just 15 seconds later Hamilton was called for a roughing penalty.   13 seconds after that Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins up 3-2.  At this point I figured the Canes would take a time out because if Hamilton and the Hurricanes don’t buckle down and stay out of the box they wouldn’t give themselves a shot…

Not but three minutes later Hamilton was called for an interference call and the Bruins were on their 3rd power play in the first 5:30 minutes of the period.  Luckily for the Hurricanes Mrazek was better on this one and they were able to kill it off to salvage an opportunity to tie the game up.

In the latter parts of the 3rd period the Canes found their stride and began to find chance after chance right in front of Rask who made save after save.  Aho and Teravainen both had open net opportunities and whiffed leaving some doubt in the crowd on whether the Bruins would hold on. 

As we crossed into the FINAL 5 Wagner had a close range wrist shot that Mrazek engulfed to keep it a one goal game.  With 2:38 left in the game it was time for Mrazek to exit the goal and bring on a sixth skater, which in my mind was way too early…turns out it was. The Hurricanes technically put an own goal into their net moments later off a deflection at the blue line and the celebration began.  

Game over right…not so fast.  Bruins winger Chris Wagner intercepted a pass and went in on Mrazek to score just 11 seconds later putting an exclamation mark on the win!

WTF Player of the Game – Jordon Staal and Dougie Hamilton owe the entire Hurricanes team an apology.  They were leading 2-1 entering the 3rd period when these guys emotions go the best of them and took three penalties in the first six minutes of the 3rd.

Just “win win win” Player of the Game – Tuuka Rask…not the best game from the veteran but that what veteran’s do, win games and get the job done.  Rask had just enough tonight even after giving up quick goal in the 1st.

Grandstand Player of the Game – Brad Marchand…his two assists were key in getting the Bruins a win.  There were a lot of stars tonight but Marchand played with a sense of urgency wanting to keep home ice!