BostonBruins.com - The Bruins knew things were going to be different this time around.
A year after sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes out of the Eastern Conference Final, Boston was prepared for a far tougher test against a team loaded with talent and, no doubt, more seasoned after last May's result.
That much was clear on Thursday night as the 'Canes responded following the B's double-overtime victory in Game 1, tying the series at a game apiece with a 3-2 victory over the Black & Gold at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
"We know they're a great team. They're in the playoffs for a reason," said Brad Marchand, who had a goal and an assist. "They ran through New York and they've showed that they're prepared to play. And obviously, [coach] Rod [Brind'Amour], he's very dedicated and he's going to have them prepared. I mean, he works and that's the motto of their team. They work hard.
"We knew they were going to push. They're resilient. They played. We weren't expecting to walk through this series. We knew it's going to be hard fought battle all the way to the end and that's the series we're in."
Boston finally got its power play on track, notching two goals on the man advantage - David Krejci opened the scoring at 15:41 of the first and Marchand tied things at 2 with less than 5 seconds to play in the second - but the Bruins struggled to find an overall rhythm, particularly in their own end.
As such, the B's were outplayed mightily during the middle period and for a large chunk of the third, during which former Boston blue liner Dougie Hamilton struck for the winner with a blast by Tuukka Rask at 8:30 of the final frame.
"The puck has got to clear the zone when you're running around…those pucks, you've got to find a way to live to fight another day," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said while criticizing his team's defensive effort. "That's a pretty good opportunity, tough one for Tuukka - that plunger play, Dougie shoots the puck pretty well. I think that's just what happened on those breakdowns…tonight they found some ways in there, they're a little more determined to get in there and they got some goals as a result."
Video: B's talk to media after Thursday loss to Carolina
Pastrnak Sits Out
The Bruins certainly missed David Pastrnak, who was a late scratch and termed "unfit to participate" by Cassidy following the loss. Boston's leading scorer had a goal and an assist in Game 1 but was not well enough to suit up for the second end of the back-to-back.
Cassidy went on to say that he does not believe Pastrnak's ailment will be long term, but the winger's status for Saturday's Game 3 is in question.
"He was questionable from the game [Wednesday] afternoon and this morning he was getting treatment - unfit to participate, but we don't believe it will be long term. That's a day-to-day thing, we hope," said Cassidy. "Obviously targeting Saturday at noon but until we see him [on Friday]…it will probably be right down to the game time again on Saturday."
With Pastrnak sidelined, Cassidy opted to plug in Anders Bjork alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, a trio that was together for much of training camp with Pastrnak missing time as he served out quarantine protocols. Bjork had a shot and two hits in 11:21 of ice time.
"It started well for Anders," said Cassidy. "He found himself all alone in the slot like the other night, those are two Grade-A chances back-to-back nights. When you're talking about a first-line player, typically you are going to force the goalie to make a real good save. So that's where we want Anders to grow in those opportunities.
"He's been working hard on his shot and I'm sure he'd like to have it back. Having said that, he hit the net, [James] Reimer made a good save, forced a nice turnover to put Krech in all alone in the second period. If Krech scores on that one, who knows right? It's a 2-0 game you don't know how it's going to go over there."
Karson Kuhlman entered the lineup and played the right side with Nick Ritchie and Charlie Coyle. He was held without a shot and landed three hits in 9:42.
Video: Cassidy addresses media after Thursday loss
Moving On Up
Krejci's tally - his second in as many games - moved him into a tie with Peter McNab for sixth place on the Bruins' all-time postseason goals list with 38. He is now tied with Patrice Bergeron for second on the franchise's all-time playoff points list with 107.
Marchand's assist on Krejci's goal was his 56th career playoff helper, tying him with Phil Esposito and Craig Janney for seventh place on the Bruins' all-time postseason list. His goal was his 87th career playoff point, tying him with Cam Neely for ninth place on the B's all-time list.
Video: BOS Recap: Krejci, Marchand score in 3-2 loss
Sending His Best
Cassidy began his postgame remarks with well wishes for his predecessor, Claude Julien, who was hospitalized in Toronto after suffering chest pain following Montreal's game against Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
"First off, I'd like to start by wishing Claude Julien a healthy and speedy recovery, know he was in hospital overnight," said Cassidy. "I don't have a lot of details but on behalf of the coaching staff, players and the whole Bruins organization, we're wishing him a healthy recovery. Our best goes out to Karen and the kids."