It was a great 55 minutes of hockey for the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night in the TD Garden, but unfortunately for the Canes, the game lasts 60.
After battling the Boston Bruins in an up-tempo slugfest for most of the night, Carolina allowed two quick tip-in goals in the final five minutes to fall to the Bruins 2-0.
James Reimer earned the start in net for Carolina after a great performance Saturday, and he was fantastic again for the Canes. He made big saves throughout the first two and a half periods, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced. Both goals came from great redirections from guys camped in front of the crease.
For the Bruins, Jaroslav Halak posted a 23-save shutout to lift Boston to a win. Charlie Coyle netted the game’s first goal with just 4:05 left to play, and David Krejci added the final nail in the Hurricanes’ coffin just over a minute later.
The story of the first period was special teams play, as the Canes and Bruins combined to commit four penalties during the opening 20 minutes. The penalty kill units for both teams won the opening-period battle, as the Hurricanes and Bruins both came up empty on two power plays.
The Canes came out of the first intermission strong, controlling the puck and the chances for most of the opening minutes of the second period. However, Carolina couldn’t get one past Halak as things remained scoreless.
Reimer really found his groove midway through the second period, as he made a couple of great saves to snuff out a flurry of looks for Boston. Reimer, who was making his second consecutive start after a great outing Saturday night, wouldn’t be beat in the middle frame, despite Boston out-shooting the Canes 13-8 in the period.
Jaccob Slavin nearly had a sequence for the ages with two minutes to play in the second period. On the Canes’ defensive end, Slavin made a phenomenal play to stretch out and block a puck. Slavin got up, skated down to the other end and received the puck.
After fighting off a Boston defenseman, Slavin flicked a backhand towards net that originally appeared to get past Halak for a goal. The refs quickly went to the video review, and the call was overturned as the puck broke through the side of the net, not past Halak and over the goal line.
Jaccob Slavin's shot went *through* the net. Originally called a goal and quickly called off. That's... something. pic.twitter.com/GT9Fhkt7dx— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 4, 2019
The third period was a lot more of the same, as the two teams battled with neither being able to break through for most of the frame. Reimer and Halak were spectacular, as both goaltenders turned away any chance they faced for the first 15 minutes of the final period.
The Bruins did finally sneak one past Reimer, as Coyle perfectly tipped in a pass from Brad Marchand. Coyle was camped just outside the crease, and redirected Marchand’s pass across Reimer and into the back of the net. Canes defenseman Jake Gardiner attempted to break things up, but was a step to late getting to Coyle.
Boston doubled up on its lead just over a minute later, as Krejci tipped in a blast from Charlie McAvoy to make it 2-0. The goal was the 200th of Krejci’s career, and sealed the victory for Boston. McAvoy rifled a shot from the blue line, and Krejci got just enough on the puck to tip it past Reimer.
The Hurricanes played nearly 56 great minutes of hockey, but will leave Boston with a 2-0 loss. Reimer was great in net again, but it wasn’t enough for the Canes to grab even the smallest amount of revenge for last year’s Eastern Conference Final.
The Canes will be back in action Thursday night, as they return to PNC Arena to host the San Jose Sharks.