Tuesday’s Game 5 playoff game was a 5-1 loss versus the Carolina Hurricanes, and had the Bruins reverting back to their game of inconsistency. For as much as the positive efforts they were able to produced in Game 3 and Game 4, they had a show of just as many negative efforts in Game 5. Talk about puck luck, opportunities, discipline, and inconsistencies, and Boston was at the top of the list with the negatives, and at the bottom with the positives. It was a game that many thought possibly held high hopes for Boston, following the locals’ strong performance in their two recent home games. It was thought that there was a good possibility for that momentum to carry over…but for the Bruins it was not to be.
Boston came out with high energy to start the game, putting up at least a half dozen scoring chances quickly, only to have a soft goal get by Jeremy Swayman at 6:11 of the first period, to again give the Hurricanes the early lead and control. While not a stellar performance by Swayman, All the blame was not his fault as the team’s poor play in front of him caused several Carolina opportunities. When pressed for an answer on who would be starting in goal for Thursday night’s Game 6 on Garden ice, Cassidy answered with the supportive, “Certainly not going to put this on Jeremy, we’ll decide, we’ll regroup and make that call tomorrow or Thursday. I’m comfortable with his game.” Definitely a tough decision for Cassidy, especially when Swayman has yet to play four games in a row in his brief NHL career.
Shouldn’t really be surprising that the Canes were able to score the first goal, as they’ve been able to accomplish that feat in all five games of this series thus far. Adding to that dilemma is the Hurricanes have been able to score five goals against the Bs in all three of their home games in this playoff series (5-1, 5-2, 5-1). In a series where the home team has won each game thus far, the task at hand for the Bruins is they’ll need to post a win at home tonight (Thursday 7:00pm), just to stay alive, and then break the home team win streak pattern with a victory at Carolina’s PNC Arena, in Game 7 if necessary on Saturday. Knowing that the Bruins will be trying to post a victory in that building for the first time since 2020, makes the possibility even harder to envision. Coach Cassidy offered up the hopeful scenario via, “So far it’s been a homer series, and we’d like to continue that for now. The Garden’s been good to us this series. The guys need to be motivated to play. If we don’t play well it’s over. That’s it, that’s all.”
The benefit of the last change for the home team was a major plus, as was evident in Game 5 as the Bruins’ top line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak had mega problems with their matchup against Carolina’s trio of Nino Niederreiter-Jordan Staal-Jesper Fast, the entire game. That was just one of the many problems facing Boston offense. There was a bevy of shortcomings for the Bruins in Game 5, aside of the no-show effort, they lacked discipline at times, and most of the game they were unable to penetrate and maintain much time in the Caroline zone. Add to that the athletic play of Canes goalie Anti Raanta while making 34 saves, and it all added up to a disappointing result. Bottom line for Boston – it will all come down to how bad they want this series, and how much effort and energy they are willing to expend in order to move on to the second round!