I know I have said this in the previous three entries related to these two teams, but the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes are teams that are on opposite ends of the spectrum (the spectrum being the Eastern Conference in this case).
The Bruins, ranked second in the conference, took on the last place Canes for their fourth and final meeting this season on Thursday night. Carolina has swept the season series thus far (3-0-0) and has been a bad match-up all the way for Boston. On paper, the Bruins should have blown out this team in every meeting. To quote a sports legend, "That's why they play the games."
Andrew Ference made his return to the lineup after serving his three-game suspension. Nathan Horton missed his third straight game due to lingering concussion symptoms. Tuukka Rask got the nod in goal for Boston in this game. Okay that is enough of updates. Game time!
The Bruins dominated the opening period by racking up 22 shots on Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward. They were able to turn some defense into quick offense as they forced several turnovers. The problem was that they just could not finish. Eric Staal put Carolina on the board for the lone goal of the period.
During the scoring play, Johnny Boychuk got hit awkwardly into the boards and had to leave the game. He returned in the second period.
The physical play really began to pick up as the game went on. The forwards began to press the Carolina defense even more to get those scoring chances. At the other end of the ice, Rask was superb as he came up with some great stops. However, the Canes grabbed another goal off the stick of Tuomo Ruutu. The puck took a weird bounce off the boards that got Rask to commit. Ruutu had an open net to shoot at as a result.
The Canes got another goal in the third period and that was when the Bruins began to show frustration. They have done this several times this season when they fall behind and it does not look good. When Boston went on the power play, Brad Marchand took a stupid slashing penalty negating any man advantage opportunity. Just not a smart game played by the B's.
The Hurricanes knocked off the Bruins by a score of 3-0. This marked the first time that the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise swept a season series against the Bruins.
The B's will be back on the ice Saturday afternoon when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron (4 shots on goals, 77.8% face-offs won)...He did all he could at the face-off dot to give his team the best chance to win.
Black Star: Brad Marchand...He finished with a minus-2 and his frustration got the better of him.