The Boston Bruins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario on Monday. Jake DeBrusk came in clutch with two goals in the third to give the Bruins a commanding 3-1 series lead. After the Hurricanes led 2-0 at the second intermission, the Bruins offense erupted with 4 goals as Brad Marchand, Connor Clifton and Jake DeBrusk who scored twice scorched Hurricanes’ goalie, James Reimer. Jaroslav Halak in relief for Tuukka Rask didn’t have a good game as he played “Rask-ish” in net throughout the three periods making 16 saves, only 1 in the third. Both teams are still missing their star right wingers, David Pastrnak who hasn’t played since Game 1, classified as unfit to participate and Andrei Svechnikov who fell backwards and sprained his right leg in Game 3 while battling it out with Zdeno Chara in front of the net, projected not to return this series.
A little over the minute and a half mark, we had our first penalty, Ryan Dzingel for high sticking, Reimer started off hot rejecting 4 Bruins’ shots including a terrific post to post save on Torey Krug’s one-timer. After the penalty kill, the game wouldn’t pick up until Justin WIlliams scored his first of the playoffs, easily beating Halak glove side to make it 1-0 Hurricanes, assisted by Vincent Trocheck and Jake Gardiner. The contest would continue to be a see-saw event with ferocious checks and a slew of block shots, 1-0 at the first intermission.
The second period began with more of the same, until Teuvo Teravainen was called for hooking, Reimer once again played spectacular stopping multiple shots, twice on Bergeron. Soon after, Carolina would go up ice two on two and cashed in as Sebastian Aho found Jordan Martinook who beat Halak glove side, 2-0 Hurricanes. It looked as if Martinook scored his second of the game but the goal was waved off due to his stick being higher than the crossbar. The Bruins looked like the better team however, the Hurricanes were getting all the lucky bounces heading into the second intermission.
The Bruins began the third with more prime scoring chances but Reimer and his stingy defense continued to shut down the Bruins. Where’s Pastrnak when you need him? With under 13 minutes remaining, Reimer attempted a flying poke-check you’d see in EA Sports NHL 20, DeBrusk made no mistake and scored on the yawning net cutting the lead in half, assisted by Clifton and Ondrej Kase. The momentum began to shift even more as Charlie McAvoy delivered a monstrous blow to Jordan Staal who went to the dressing room for the remainder of the game. Staal has been injury prone throughout his career, he only played 50 games last season due to a concussion, no word yet if he will be ready for Game 5. Once the game resumed, the Bruins kept the puck in Carolina’s end, Chris Wagner found Joakim Nordstrom who then passed it off to a wide open Clifton for the rocket slap shot past Reimer’s shoulder to tie it at 2. A distraught Rod Brind’Amour called a timeout but it was too late, the Bruins were already in an unstoppable groove. In a blink of an eye, Krug found Marchand all alone in front, the backhand forehand beat Reimer 5-hole, 3-2 Bruins, their first lead of the game. The scoring would not end there as DeBrusk netted his second of the game from David Krejci and Kase, Bruins bulldozing the competition, 4-2. At one point in the third, the stout B’s defense wouldn’t let the Hurricanes in their zone as the shots on goal were 15-0. The Hurricanes’ last minute gasp would make it close as Dougie Hamilton found Brady Skjei at the point, shot kick saved by Halak however, the rebound was scooped up by Teravainen who cut the lead in half. With seconds counting down, the Bruins frantically cleared the puck from their zone to win a dramatic Game 4, 4-3.
Early elimination would come across many Bruins fans’ minds after Rask opted out from the playoffs this past Saturday, clearly the B’s defensive unit raised the bar to set the offense in motion. The Hurricanes’ goaltending situation is in a state of flux, which tendy should start Game 5? Should they go with Peter Mrazek who lost Game 1 and 3 or Reimer who came out on top in Game 2 but underperformed in Game 4? Easy solution - flip of a coin.
If the sloppy goaltending and lack of depth continues, it’s looking like the Hurricanes will be blown away by the Bruins in the playoffs for the second straight year. Game 5 airs on Wednesday, August 19th, 4:00 P.M. E.T.