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5 Keys: Hurricanes at Bruins, Game 2

Carolina needs forecheck to keep pressure on; Boston seeks to extend lead in Eastern Final

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer


3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

Boston leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The Boston Bruins will try for their fifth straight win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at TD Garden on Sunday.

Boston won 5-2 in Game 1 on Thursday, scoring four straight goals after trailing 2-1 entering the third period to end Carolina's six-game postseason winning streak. The Hurricanes hadn't lost since Game 5 of the first round against the Washington Capitals.

Patrice Bergeron's game-winning goal 2:54 into the third period was the center's NHL-leading fifth power-play goal of the playoffs, the most by a Bruins player since Cam Neely had nine in 1991 to tie the NHL record set by Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders in 1981. 

Here are 5 keys for Game 2:


1. Play from ahead

Over their four consecutive postseason wins, the Bruins have led for 155:54 and trailed for 13:08. The 13:08 came in Game 1 on Thursday, but Boston showed how well it plays with the lead after Bergeron's goal put the Bruins ahead, limiting the Hurricanes to five shots on goal the rest of the game.

Boston is 8-0 in the playoffs when leading entering the third period. 

"Sometimes we get in a little bit of a passive mode, but we play a layered system where we try to make sure we're in front of them towards the net, so they have to go through multiple bodies to get there and try to limit turnovers as well," Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk said. "Just try to play a simple game. It's not necessarily the most fun game to watch, but it's winning hockey this time of year."


2. Keep the pressure on

Carolina is at its best when it uses its relentless forecheck to pressure opponents into defensive-zone turnovers that lead to scoring chances. After a slow start in Game 1, the Hurricanes had some success with this in the second period, when they outshot the Bruins 15-10. But they were unable to maintain it in the third, when they had trouble getting through the neutral zone and getting the puck in deep.  

Boston will get some help in handling Carolina's forecheck with the return of defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who was suspended for Game 1 for an illegal check to the head against Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson in Game 6 of the second round.


3. Stay out of the box

Game 1 turned when forward Marcus Johansson and Bergeron scored power-play goals 28 seconds apart in the opening 2:54 of the third period, giving Boston a 3-2 lead. That reminded the Hurricanes of the danger of taking penalties against the Bruins, whose power play is an NHL-best 30.0 percent (12-for-40) in the playoffs after going 2-for-5 on Thursday.

"You're going to take penalties," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "They're going to take them too. They had a few. So that's part of the game. It's obviously a strength of theirs, so we don't want to feed into that, if possible."

The Hurricanes power play also had success in Game 1, scoring on its first opportunity and totaling eight shots on goal on its three man-advantage chances.


4. Scoring depth

The top lines often cancel each other out at even strength in the playoffs, so it can be up to the defensemen and players on the third and fourth lines to be difference-makers offensively. That was the case for Boston in Game 1, when defenseman Steven Kampfer, who was playing because McAvoy was suspended, third-line center Charlie Coyle and fourth-line forward Chris Wagner scoring even-strength goals. 

Fourth-line center Greg McKegg scored Carolina's lone even-strength goal in Game 1, but the Hurricanes need more from others in the bottom half of their lineup. 


5. Pressure's on Mrazek

Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek had some good moments in making 23 saves in Game 1, but he probably wanted back Bergeron's goal, which slipped between his pads when the Hurricanes needed a big save to stem Boston's momentum. Mrazek might have been a little rusty playing in his first game since April 28 after recovering from a lower-body injury, but his margin of error is small playing against Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 29 saves in Game 1. 

Since the start of the second round, Rask is 5-2 with a 1.74 goals-against average, a .947 save percentage and one shutout.


Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei Svechnikov -- Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen

Nino Niederreiter -- Jordan Staal -- Justin Williams

Warren Foegele - Lucas Wallmark -- Brock McGinn

Jordan Martinook -- Greg McKegg -- Micheal Ferland

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce -- Justin Faulk

Haydn Fleury -- Calvin de Haan

Petr Mrazek

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Jake Bean, Patrick Brown

Injured: Saku Maenalanen (upper 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 -- Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Steven Kampfer, Karson Kuhlman, John Moore

Injured: Kevan Miller (lower body), Noel Acciari (upper body)


Status report

McAvoy's return from suspension will push Kampfer out of the lineup. … Acciari practiced in a no-contact jersey Saturday but is expected to miss his fourth straight game. … Martinook did not practice Saturday, and Brind'Amour said he'll be a game-time decision for the remainder of the playoffs because of a nagging lower-body injury. … Maenalanen practiced in a no-contact jersey but is not yet able to shoot the puck and remains out. correspondent Matt Kalman contributed to this report


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