The Boston Bruins have history on their side after their 5-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at TD Garden on Thursday.
Teams that win Game 1 of the best-of-7 conference finals in the format adopted in 1982 have an all-time series record of 46-26 (63.9 percent). This is the fifth time the Bruins have won the opener in the conference finals; they've won the series on three of the first four occasions (1988, 1990, 2013), losing in 1991 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Power-play goals 28 seconds apart by forward Marcus Johansson and center Patrice Bergeron early in the third period put Boston ahead 3-2. Bergeron, whose NHL-high fifth power-play goal of this season's playoffs was the game-winner, has 95 points (37 goals, 58 assists) in 126 postseason games; he's five points shy of becoming the fifth player in Bruins history with at least 100 playoff points. Bergeron's five power-play goals in the playoffs are the most by a Boston player since Cam Neely set a Bruins record and matched the NHL mark held by Mike Bossy with nine in 1991.
Video: CAR@BOS, Gm1: Bruins net two quick PPGs for lead
Forward Brad Marchand assisted on the goals by Johansson and Bergeron, giving him the playoff scoring lead with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists). This is the third time Marchand has had at least 15 points in one playoff season; in Boston history, only Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque (four) has done it more often.
The Bruins sealed the victory late in the third period, when center Charlie Coyle and forward Chris Wagner scored 11 seconds apart to tie for the third-fastest pair of playoff goals in Boston playoff history. The only faster instances: seven seconds in Game 4 of the 1989 Adams Division Final and nine seconds in Game 1 of the 1975 Preliminary Round.
It was the third comeback win for the Bruins in this postseason; the Hurricanes and Dallas Stars share the lead with four comeback victories.
Blues, Sharks open Western Conference Final on Saturday
After each team survived a Game 7 in the second round, the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues will begin the Western Conference Final with Game 1 at SAP Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
San Jose is 3-2 in five postseason series against St. Louis, including a six-game victory in the 2016 Western Conference Final that put the Sharks into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since entering the NHL in 1991; they lost to the Penguins in six games. The Blues have not advanced to the Cup Final since 1970, when they were swept by the Bruins, and have not won a championship since entering the NHL in 1967-68.
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