Missing their young star, Andrei Svechnikov, the Hurricanes were put into a crunch come game time. There wasn’t many changes to the roster: Ryan Dzingel came back into the lineup for Svechnikov, Jake Gardiner swapped back in for Trevor van Riemsdyk and James Reimer got the nod in net.
But the unexpected thing was the starting lineups Brind’Amour opted for. Jordan Martinook found himself on the top line and Martin Necas wound up on the fourth.
The decisions seemed to be the right as the Hurricanes played well through two periods, but as has happened too often in the series, the Canes let up.
The game started less than ideal as Dzingel wound up in the box for a high-sticking penalty under two minutes in. The Bruins power play looked dangerous as it had all series, with the best opportunity coming with Torey Krug missing a wide-open net.
Even with a power play opportunity, the Canes were held shotless through the first eight minutes of the first period. However, they didn’t need more than one on net to get on the board as Justin Williams picked his spot from the top of the left circle, sniping it under Jaroslav Halak’s glove.
Justin Williams opens the scoring. He rips the puck through traffic in front, which included Air Gardiner. Hurricanes have a 1-0 lead in game four against the Bruins. Gardiner and Vincent Trocheck get the assists. pic.twitter.com/ZRGjjIVLo2— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) August 18, 2020
After that, the ice tilted back and forth between the two teams with many of the battles taking place in the neutral zone. However, the Canes seemed to be generating more and more momentum as the period progressed.
The second period lagged out of the gate for each team, but slowly the Bruins began to mount some pressure. After David Krejci rang one off the post, Boston drew a call with Teuvo Teravainen heading off for a hook.
The Bruins’ power play, which has been the polar opposite of the Canes’ faltering power play, managed to string together a few grade-A looks but Reimer and the penalty killers came up huge.
Riding off that momentum, the very next shift gave rise to first line Martinook who jumped on a rush down the left side and snapped a shot past Halak to give the Hurricanes their first multi-goal lead of the series.
After a huge penalty kill, Jordan Martinook fires a shot by Jaroslav Halak. Sebastian Aho hit him with the pass entering the offensive zone, and the Hurricanes have a 2-0 lead in the second period of game four. pic.twitter.com/Oj2IGa3Uym— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) August 18, 2020
The Canes started to mount a game from there as first-line Martinook nearly had his second goal of the game trying to dust off the roof of the arena, but it was waved off for a high-stick.
Moments later, Nino Niederreiter set up Martin Necas on a 3-on-1, but Necas just couldn’t get the stick on it even though he fell on the shot, a usual key for Necas’ scoring.
These misses would be costly.
As the period came to a close though, the momentum swung yet again as Dougie Hamilton was called for a hold with 22 seconds remaining. The Canes killed off the second period segment of the penalty, and followed it up killing the remainder of the third period segment.
The Bruins kept riding off of the momentum as the shot attempts began to pile up, but James Reimer remained strong.
Well... that was until he left his net to challenge Jake DeBrusk for a loose puck. He ended up losing the race to it and Debrusk deked around him and shot it into the gaping cage eight minutes into the third.
The ice had tilted and after Jordan Staal absorbed a huge hit from Charlie McAvoy that sent him to the room, the Bruins found another as Connor Clifton snuck down to the circle and ripped a one-timer top-corner.
As seemed inevitable, with everything going for them, the Bruins took the lead as Brad Marchand was sprung on a breakaway which he finished five-hole.
Moments later, DeBrusk got another as he found himself alone in close with Reimer after a tremendous defensive breakdown.
The Hurricanes went from a 2-0 lead off of hard work and effort after two periods to having no shots through the opening 18 minutes of the third period and surrendering four goals in under seven minutes.
Teuvo Teravainen would grab one last goal with a little over a minute remaining and Reimer pulled, but it was way too little way too late.
It was a tale told too often in this series. The Canes let up and Boston took it all. Sure, they lost their captain and Reimer’s play on the first goal was terrible, but the team completely had collapsed even before those events.
Down 3-1 in the series, the fate of the Canes now seems eminent as they prepare for Game 5, Wednesday at 4 p.m.