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5 Keys: Bruins at Hurricanes, Game 4

Boston looks to start fast, reach Final; Carolina must revive power play to extend series

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

BRUINS at HURRICANES

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

Boston leads best-of-7 series 3-0

The Boston Bruins will try to complete a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in nine seasons when they play Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at PNC Arena on Thursday.

The Bruins have won six straight games since falling behind 2-1 after three games against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round. Tuukka Rask has allowed nine goals on 205 shots for a 1.50 goals-against average and .956 save percentage during the winning streak.

"He's in a zone," Bruins center David Krejci said of Rask. "He's playing really well. He gives us lots of confidence."

Boston is looking to return to the Cup Final for the first time since 2013, when it lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Bruins, who won the Cup in 2011, would join the Blackhawks as the only teams to reach the Stanley Cup Final three times this decade.

The Hurricanes will try to avoid getting swept in the conference final for the second time in their history. They were also swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, the last time Carolina reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs before this season.

"We've been hit three times here," Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. "It takes four to knock us down, and we're just going to keep showing up and see what happens."

Here are 5 keys for Game 4:

 

1. Get in Rask's way

The fact Carolina scored on defenseman Calvin de Haan's uncontested, unscreened, low slap shot from the left face-off circle in Game 3 was a bit shocking, considering how good Rask has been. The five-hole goal has to be looked at as an anomaly and not one Carolina is likely to score on again unless Rask has an off night.

Instead, the Hurricanes must do a better job generating traffic in front of Rask. They're not getting in his way enough, and a lot of the shots they're getting from outside become routine saves because Rask is seeing them.

Video: BOS@CAR, Gm3: de Haan cranks home heavy slap shot

 

2. Start on time

The Bruins were lucky to survive their dreadful first period in Game 3, when they were parading to the penalty box, giving the Hurricanes four power-play opportunities and defending almost the entire time, long enough that Rask faced 20 shots in the period.

Another start like that could all but guarantee the need for Game 5 at TD Garden on Saturday.

"We understand the crowd gives them an extra boost, so we have to make sure we have certain sets, certain things that help us break out pucks and do the little things right to help us get through [the start of the game] so we can play our game," Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk said.

 

3. Hurricanes need power surge

It's not surprising the Bruins are up 3-0 in the series considering they're 5-for-12 on the power play and the Hurricanes are 0-for-11 since center Sebastian Aho's goal on the man-advantage at 3:42 of the first period in Game 1.

Carolina had some good looks on the power play in the first period of Game 3, when it had 12 shots on four opportunities, but didn't score. Lack of success has led to a concern about confidence and overthinking, forward Teuvo Teravainen said.

But it's hard to believe the Hurricanes are going to win Game 4 without getting something from their power play.

"We need it," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's no different than in the regular season. We talk about it all the time. There's a little chart you show, special teams, are you plus or minus? Generally the teams that are in the plus won the game. That's played out pretty much this series."

 

4. Bruins' puck pressure

Boston has done a good job preventing Carolina from gaining speed on the breakout, limiting the Hurricanes' ability to generate much off the rush.

The Bruins can't relent in this area, because the Hurricanes thrive when they push up with their defensemen and get their speed game going. They want to be all go, all the time, and Boston hasn't let them be.

Video: BOS@CAR, Gm3: Marchand banks in PPG off defender

 

5. Williams' leadership

Williams has had a rough series with one point, a goal late in a 6-2 loss in Game 2, and five penalties, including three in Game 3. The Hurricanes take their cues from their leader, which means he has to be in control and making a positive contribution in Game 4.

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei Svechnikov -- Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen

Nino Niederreiter -- Jordan Staal -- Justin Williams

Warren Foegele - Lucas Wallmark -- Brock McGinn

Micheal Ferland -- Greg McKegg -- Saku Maenalanen

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce -- Justin Faulk

Haydn Fleury -- Calvin de Haan

Curtis McElhinney

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Jake Bean, Patrick Brown

Injured: Jordan Martinook (lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (left shoulder)

 

Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- David Backes

Marcus Johansson -- Charlie Coyle -- Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom -- Sean Kuraly -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Steven Kampfer, Karson Kuhlman, John Moore

Injured: Chris Wagner (right arm) Kevan Miller (lower body)

 

Status report

Neither team had a morning skate. … Acciari, who missed four games with an upper-body injury and was a healthy scratch for Game 3, will replace Wagner. … Martinook, who missed Game 3, will be a game-time decision, Brind'Amour said.

NHL.com correspondent Kurt Dusterberg contributed to this report

 

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