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Game 1 Recap: Canes Bested by Bruins

Bruins score two power-play goals 28 seconds apart early in the third period

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

BOSTON - The Boston Bruins scored two power-play goals in a 28-second span early in the third period, handing the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-2 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Marcus Johansson and Patrice Bergeron cashed in on the Bruins' man advantage opportunities in the opening minutes of the third period, stalling the Canes' six-game postseason winning streak.

Here are five takeaways from Game 1.

1. One That Got Away

The Hurricanes brought a 2-1 lead into the third period on the road. That's a pretty favorable scenario, and the Canes were a perfect 3-0 in the postseason when leading after two periods. Boston, meanwhile, was 0-3 when trailing after two.

The zeroes in either of those statistics flipped to ones on Thursday, as Boston scored four unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation to take Game 1.

One that got away for the Canes.

"We've just got to lock it down better," Greg McKegg said. "We got into a little penalty trouble, and they have a good power play. A couple of bounces went their way, they capitalized and that was that."

"We had the lead in the third, took some penalties and gave them the lead," Dougie Hamilton said. "Tough to come back from that."

2. Momentum Swings in the Third

Jordan Staal took a boarding penalty just 49 seconds into the third period, awarding the Bruins their third power play of the game.

At that point, it was tempting fate. The Bruins' power play was converting at a league-best 28.6 percent in the postseason coming into this series. The Canes had dispatched two prior penalties, but it was only a matter of time.

Johansson tied the game at two, tapping in a loose puck on the doorstep.

Video: CAR Recap: Aho, McKegg score in Game 1 loss

"They've got a good team, and we knew they wouldn't quit," McKegg said. "They've got a strong power play, and they capitalized."

Less than 20 seconds later, Hamilton was whistled for roughing Joakim Nordstrom, a questionable call especially considering Sean Kuraly took out Andrei Svechnikov from behind in the neutral zone. How Hamilton was the only player penalized in that sequence was downright baffling.

"I just watched both of them, and I don't agree with either," Hamilton said of the roughing call and a later interference minor. "Not much else to say. The game is over now."

Of course, the Bruins took advantage of the power play.

Bergeron slid a one-time shot from the slot past Petr Mrazek to put the Bruins ahead, 3-2.

Head coach Rod Brind'Amour sensed the momentum shift and called his team's timeout, huddling the group up at the bench as best he could.

Video: CAR@BOS, Gm1: Brind'Amour speaks on Game 1 loss

"The penalties put us back on our heels right from the start, and we never recovered," he said. "We took penalties. We need to kill them."

The Bruins were content to salt most of the rest of the game away, converting on an empty-net chance late and then adding another goal shortly after to make it a 5-2 final.

"For sure it stings," Hamilton said. "We know we can be better."

3. A Solid Second

The Hurricanes came out of the gates and little slow and then limped to the finish line after a back-breaking third period, but the middle frame was encouraging and featured some of the best hockey the team played in Game 1.

Through the first seven or so minutes of the second period, the Hurricanes built a 2:1 advantage in shots on the Bruins (18-9), which included an 8-1 edge in the period. The difference was Tuukka Rask (and a goal post that Brett Pesce found early in the period).

But, remaining true to their style of play, the Hurricanes kept coming and kept coming and kept coming and eventually they got one past Rask to take a 2-1 lead.

Greg McKegg turned on the jets to scoot around David Krejci just inside the blue line. He then snapped a shot that squeaked under the arm of Rask and bounced into the net, just prior to a heavy collision that knocked the net off its pegs, as Steven Kampfer sent McKegg barreling into Rask.

Video: CAR@BOS, Gm1: McKegg scores after driving the net

"I didn't really see where it went. I kind of got pushed in," McKegg said. "I saw the bench, and they said it was in. I was pretty sure it was going to be a goal because I didn't try to run into him. I got pushed from behind."

Ideally, the Canes would have been able to stretch their lead even further in what was their best period of the three. Still, it's a 20-minute of segment of hockey on which the Canes can build heading into Game 2.

"There's only good teams left at this time of year. We're confident in our abilities," McKegg said. "We've got to get to our game and stick with it."

4. Overcoming a Slow Start

Maybe it was Game 1 jitters. Maybe it was a thin layer of rust that accumulated after not having played a game in almost a week. Whatever the reason, the Bruins were able to jump on the Canes early.

After Justin Faulk couldn't handle the puck at the point, Johansson scooped it up and charged down the ice. He gained the zone and threw on the breaks before spotting an open Kampfer. In the lineup in place of the suspended Charlie McAvoy, Kampfer fired in a wrist shot from the slot to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 2:55 into the game.

"We came out slow," Brind'Amour said. "We're not going to win if we don't play better than that."

Boston's advantage was incredibly short-lived, though. The Hurricanes went to work on their first power play of the game 44 seconds after Kampfer's goal, and the Canes' man advantage, which was converting at just 10.5 percent coming into this series, only need three seconds to tie the game.

Jordan Staal cleanly won the draw back to Andrei Svechnikov, who fed Sebastian Aho at the top of the crease for the nifty redirection. Aho now has five goals and three assists in four games against the Bruins this season.

Video: CAR@BOS, Gm1: Aho tips in Svechnikov's shot for PPG

From that point on, the Canes settled into the first period, which transitioned into a much more complete second.

"We had spurts, but that's not going to be good enough," Brind'Amour said.

5. Mrazek, Ferland Return

After missing the last eight games with an upper-body injury, Micheal Ferland returned to the lineup. He recorded an assist, three shots on goal, two hits and a blocked shot in 11:02 of ice time.

Mrazek made his return to the crease after recovering from a lower-body injury that forced him out of Game 2 in the Second Round. He totaled 17 saves on 18 shots through two periods before the Bruins' power play took over early in the third.

"He's been a rock back there," McKegg said. "He played well and looked sharp. We've got to be better in front of him."

Up Next

Game 2 is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday at TD Garden.

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