Some thoughts while reflecting back on Game One of the Bruins’ postseason on Monday, which is already in the books. There is naturally some concern as the Bruins again fell easily to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1, for the fourth time in their last four meetings. Exposed once again were several shortcomings. as the Boston offense once again fizzled out by not being able to put numbers up early, or actually, numbers up at all. The first period had an encouraging start as it was the Bruins pressuring the Hurricanes for the first half on the period, then tailing off in the second half of the frame and unable to even put a shot on the Canes’ Antti Raanta in the final seven minutes. Emerging with the score still knotted at the end of the period 0-0, things were looking very competitive. For Boston, it all came crashing down quickly late in the second, having several good scoring chances, they attacked often, but were unable to penetrate Raanta in the Hurricanes net. A quick turnaround in a span of two minutes and ten seconds, the Hurricanes hit the Bruins net with a hurricane blast that quickly gave them a 2-0 lead at the end of two periods. On the strength of goals by Seth Jarvis and Nino Niederreiter, the wind was quickly taken out of Boston’s sails.
Desperation quickly turned to hope in the third period, less than three minutes in, when Taylor Hall cashed in on passes from Erik Haula and Charlie McAvoy to cut the Carolina lead in half (2-1). Hope for the locals lasted just a bit over four minutes before Carolina’s hurricane turned into a tornado – as Vincent Trocheck scored an even strength goal (4-1), and Andrei Svechnikov deposited an empty net goal to put an end to Boston’s suffering and a 5-1 loss. In their three previous games with Carolina, the Bruins were basically kept off the scoreboard, having been outscored 16-1, that streak was extended, as compounding Game One – it read 21-2. That alone was sure to give the Bs concern, but simply not a situation they were able to correct. A somewhat encouraging stat was Boston taking it to the Canes by outshooting them 36-25. Despite the loss, Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark played well and kept his team in the game, giving them a chance to win. Bruce Cassidy has decided that having earned another shot in net, Ullmark will be the starting goaltender for Game Two. Cassidy’s comments on Ullmark, “He had a great run here coming into the playoffs, we’re not going to judge him on one game. First playoff game. There’s a bunch of different things that go into that.”
Regarding his defense corps, Cassidy was mulling changes coming into Wednesday‘s Game Two. There is a distinct possibility that highly touted defenseman Hampus Lindholm may be switched around, possibly being paired with Carlo, with Matt Grzelcyk playing with Charlie McAvoy. Some changes considered following the tough night Grzelyck and Brandon Carlo had in the Game One loss, with Grzelcyk being on for three of the Canes’ goals. Coach Cassidy bluntly stated, “I just thought Grizz and Carlo had a bit of a challenging night, so we talked about using Lindholm with Carlo at times as well.” Not so surprising that coach would consider moving Lindholm around, as he mentioned that during his press conference following Lindholm’s acquisition.
Cassidy has often stated during the regular season, that playing from behind is a difficult situation, and definitely frustrating. Possible remedies to avoiding that problem might be an adjusted power play (0-3 in game one)– or at least one that gives the team an opportunity to score. It all starts with being able to gain entry into the opponents blue line – a problem that the Bruins continue to have a lack in resolving. Cassidy’s comments hit right on with, “Their goalie made saves and there were some pucks around the front of the net we just couldn’t locate or take the right path, but they were there, he’s paid to play too, and he did a good job,”
Wednesday night’s Game Two was held prior to today’s (Thursday) Record hitting the street, but whether Boston was able to even the series or not, Game Three will be hosted by the Bs on TD Garden ice tomorrow (Friday at 7:00pm), and again on Sunday 12:30pm for Game Four. Optimism is the message for the rest of this series, with Game Five (if necessary), set for Tuesday in Carolina; Game Six (if necessary) back on Garden ice, and the final Game Seven (if necessary) finishing up in Carolina.