It's back to Boston for game 7 as the Boston Bruins scored early and scored often against the Carolina Hurricanes, defeating them by a score of 4-2 last night at the RBC. Just five minutes into the game the Hurricanes found themselves down 2-0, and could never gain control of the contest, nor take advantage of their loud, loyal, and rowdy crowd in Raleigh.
The first goal of the game was scored just two minutes into the affair when the puck was tapped in by Mark Recchi just as the net came off it's post. After a brief video review, the goal stood even though both Tripp Tracy and John Forslund were saying that it should be no goal. That makes two close video reviews in this series that did not go the Hurricanes way, but it's hard to argue about that one. I'm not sure why John and Tripp were wrong, I could not hear the audio well.
The Bruins scored again just three minutes later on a blast from the point by Steve Montador.
The Hurricanes tried to make a game of it and actually out-shot the Bruins in each and every period, as well as 33-19 for the game. Matt Cullen scored early in the second period on a sweet backhander, but the Bruins would answer shortly afterwards on a very nice play between Milan Lucic and Marc Savard.
The game would be put out of reach when Chuck Kobasew would sneak in behind Tim Gleason for Boston's fourth goal with less than two minutes remaining in the second period. (photo above)
The Carolina defense was a step or two slow much of the night and they seemed unaware of the location of the puck at times. The forwards were also off a bit, coming close to scoring on several occasions, but just missing because of bad timing.
Sergei Samsonov gave the fans some hope and scored a goal seven minutes into the third, but the Canes would not get any closer and the Bruins succeeded in their quest to make it to game 7.
The officials had a very easy night of it and only had to call five penalties, one of which was an automatic delay of game, puck over the boards call on the Bruins. No one can blame the refs for this loss.
My guess is that the league office had a chit-chat with both teams because this was the meekest I have ever seen the Bruins play. There were very few scrums or shenanigans after the whistle, like there were in previous affairs. Both teams just skated away after the goalie held the puck and the referee stopped play. The Bruins were only credited with 22 hits for the game, one of their lowest totals of the playoffs. According to the scoresheet, the Canes had 40 hits.
The two teams meet one final time this season in Boston at 8PM on Thursday.
Tim Thomas made some nice saves to preserve the win for Boston, but he could certainly be tested more than he was last night.
Erik Cole was credited with eight hits and had a couple of nice ones on Zdeno Chara. But Cole is one expensive checking forward at $4 million per year. He has yet to score a goal and has one assist in 13 playoff games. Tuomo Ruutu also had eight hits.
Other players who have yet to score a goal in these playoffs are Rod Brind'Amour, Scott Walker, Patrick Eaves and Anton Babchuk. After making big contributions in the Jersey series, Chad LaRose, Ryan Bayda, and Ray Whitney have not done much scoring in this series.
The players were surprisingly upbeat in the dressing room after the game, but didn't have an answer for not being able to come out with more jump for the most important game of the year, (up to that point).
Coach Maurice had a nice statement in the post game press conference. He started off by saying:
"I still believe in this hockey team, I really do. I just want us to believe. I just want us to play the game we are capable of playing."
It won't be easy for them to play "their game" in Boston.