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About Last Night: Canes Overcome Bruins, Stripes, to Even Series

The Carolina Hurricanes win game 2 to even the series at one game apiece.

Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins - Game Two Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Canes picked up a huge win last night to even their series with Boston at one game apiece. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the game.

Pregame Changes

Before the game both teams had their lineups in a blender. The Bruins announced that leading scorer and Rocket Richard co-winner David Pasternak was unfit to play. Speculation is that it is an abdominal injury that was sustained in the celebration of the double overtime game winner by Patrice Bergeron. 25-year-old winger Karson Kuhlman stepped into the lineup. This would not stop the Bruins’ relentless energy and perfect positioning.

The Carolina Hurricanes had a bevy of changes: Jake Gardiner, Joel Edmundson and Nino Niederreiter exited for Sami Vatanen, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Justin Williams. Only Joel Edmundson was noted as “unfit to play.” While these absences would have been an issue just a season ago, the newfound Hurricanes depth means this is a non-issue. The final switch came in net, with James Reimer starting, but that was to be expected for a back-to-back.

The changes favored the Hurricanes who saw a Bruins top line dominate in game one that now had to be pieced together. The Canes fared much better against a top line that was at 2/3 strength even with Andrei Svechnikov demoted to the second line.

Svechnikov Demotion

The biggest forward change for the Canes came with Andrei Svechnikov being demoted to the second line. The Canes’ top line was highly touted as the best in the preliminary round but was completely shut down in the first game. Even on the national broadcast Mike Milbury said that it was premature for the Canes to break up the line. The last laugh was with the Canes. Svechnikov ended the game with a goal and an assist and his goal was an absolute beauty.

The first line had the benefit of the extra effort of Warren Foegele. While he does not have the most skill, he’s able to battle and win pucks which is what they struggled to do in game one. With Svech on the second line, the Bruins now had to worry about two matchups that can score.

This also doesn’t count the fact that Svech was much more involved physically in game two. He seemed more comfortable in his positioning and that led him to play the body more. He had a great hit to clear out McAvoy which saw him slow to get up after elbowing Svech in the head. It led to matching minors that also took Chara off the ice.

It was just clear that Svech is more comfortable with the pace of the Bruins’ second line and also gave the Canes two legitimate threatening lines. This proves my initial thoughts wrong. I thought having an elite first line would match up well with the Bruins’ Perfection Line. It turns out the Perfection Line was too much in the first game.

I tend to think this continues against the Bruins moving forward. The next round could see the top line reunited.

Special Teams

The Canes played great defense at even strength. Sure they gave up more shots but they did not let up a single goal at even strength. The bad news, they let up both goals while down a man. The Bruins’ power play had struggled ever since the re-start, and they did not want to give them a chance to get hot. Going two for three is getting hot.

The Bruins had goals from David Krejci and Brad Marchand with the man advantage with only Marchand’s coming with a real power play. The Krejci bomb came on a modified five-on-three due to a Canes broken stick that eventually came to Jordan Staal who had the assignment on Krejci.

The second period saw both teams benefit from penalties. The Canes were able to tie the game on the powerplay with a goal from Teuvo Teravainen, but Boston would answer. Marchand tied the game with a goal that was a true power-play goal to end the second period. With just five second left he was able to clear a rebound and tie the game.

What a win will do/Ref Therapy Session

The Carolina Hurricanes overcame adversity like only a Rod Brind’Amour coached team can, to win game two by a score of 3-2. Canes fans were ready to jump through their TV’s to complain about the refs, but all is well with a win.

The controversy did not end in game two which saw Brind’Amour surrender to the refs at one point. I also want to preface this by saying I absolutely hate people complaining about the refs in any sport. It looks bad and certainly feels like being a sore loser. Games can always be determined by players in any situation.

However, both Bruins goals came off of questionable penalties and the only successfully defended penalty was a delay of game that came with the Canes losing a goaltender interference challenge that would have given them the lead. The second Bruins goal came off an interference penalty when Torey Krug tripped over Teravainen while skating backwards in an incidental contact that saw Krug’s stick hit Teravainen in the face. Alas it was a penalty on Teravainen.

While I disagreed with a majority of the other referee decisions through the game, the no-goal call seemed right. While Teravainen was pushed into Tuuka Rask, there was additional contact that in slow motion is going to be hard to overturn.

What wasn’t hard to call were multiple hits by the Bruins. One was touched on earlier when McAvoy elbowed Svechnikov on a zone entry. McAvoy also ripped Jordan Staal’s helmet off in a corner battle in the first period that went uncalled. If you remember last playoffs, Williams was hooked around the neck by Brad Marchand but when Williams unsnapped Marchand’s helmet, he was given a roughing call. No such call this time.

We can all take solace in the fact that puck don’t lie, and the better team won tonight.

Dougie Hamilton Revenge Tour

Hamilton has looked good in his first two games back. He has taken on the toughest defensive assignments and looked good as well as playing on the top power play and penalty kill units. I am happy that he wasn’t rushed back to the lineup against the Rangers because he needs to be able to fill in all roles at 100%.

He ended up scoring the game-winning goal last night on an absolute rocket from the point. When the pass moved back to him, I initially thought “please don’t ruin this chance for a defenseman shot that inevitably goes out of play.” But again, I was wrong. Hamilton, while skating in from the blue line, buried a slapshot glove side ear high, silencing his Boston doubters once again.

We will have to hear more about his perceived weaknesses with Mike Milbury on the broadcast but there’s only one Museum Boy and we love him for it.

Looking Forward

The Bruins continued their strong play which is just incredible to watch in the playoffs. While the Canes are known for their aggressive forecheck, the Bruins forecheck with the same intensity but with more efficiency. It looks like there are 10 sticks out there at all times because they are constantly in the passing lanes.

The Canes like to try to clear the zone with pucks on the boards, and the point players for the Bruins are always sealing the boards with success. They will need to change this method going forward. This doesn’t stop in the defensive zone; they muddy up their offensive zone as well making it nearly impossible to get a clean shot off in the offensive zone.

The Canes have struggled to simplify their game. There was both a 2-on-1 and a 4-on-2 that ended without a shot on goal for the Canes. This has been a microcosm for the Canes’ offense in the series so far. They are looking for an additional pass for a high danger chance rather than just getting a shot on net.

While against most teams, it is preferred to go for the high danger chance, they just don’t exist when playing the Bruins. Look at the game winner, it came from the point without getting too fancy.

While the Bruins are struggling to rise to the occasion in the re-start, it’s no issue for the Canes in large part due to their coach.