Preview: Hurricanes at Bruins
The Boston Bruins were 20 minutes away from losing home-ice advantage in the opener of their Eastern Conference final until an offensive eruption early in the third period enabled them to seize the upper hand in the series. Boston will attempt to hold serve again at home and grab a 2-0 edge in the best-of-7 set against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.
The Bruins won the opener by a deceptive 5-2 margin, erasing a one-goal deficit in the third by scoring a pair of power-play goals in a 28-second span to tilt the momentum in their favor against seventh-seeded Carolina. "We were fortunate to only be down one goal, and then when you get those chances on the power play, you've got to make them pay," goaltender Tuukka Rask told reporters after winning his fourth consecutive start in the postseason. The Hurricanes showed their mettle in rallying from a 2-0 series deficit to oust defending Stanley Cup champion Washington in the first round before sweeping the New York Islanders, so they are not putting too much stock in the Game 1 defeat. "It's good that we have been in this situation before. We were down in Washington, so it is all good," forward Sebastian Aho told reporters after Thursday's setback.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA
ABOUT THE BRUINS: Charlie Coyle, a trade deadline acquisition, has made quite a splash with Boston, tying for the team lead with his sixth playoff goal after scoring into an empty net in the series opener. Fellow forward Marcus Johansson, imported from New Jersey for the postseason run, is also making an impact after overcoming a pair of injuries, igniting the comeback by netting the tying goal on Thursday after converting in the series-clinching win over Columbus. "It's why we're still playing," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters of the duo's contributions. "If we don't get secondary scoring, we're probably not having this discussion right now."
ABOUT THE HURRICANES: Petr Mrazek was victimized for three of the four goals in the third period but coach Rod Brind'Amour did not second-guess his decision to start the 27-year-old Czech for the first time since he was injured in Game 2 against the Islanders. "Petr was fine. We left him out to dry there at the end," Brind'Amour said of Mrazek, who already has posted a pair of shutouts in the postseason. Aho, Carolina's leading scorer in the regular season, has come alive after a slow start in the playoffs, scoring for the third consecutive game Thursday to boost his season totals against the Bruins to five goals and three assists in four matchups.
1. Bruins D Charlie McAvoy will rejoin the lineup after sitting out the opener while serving a one-game suspension.
2. Hurricanes fourth-line C Greg McKegg has scored in back-to-back contests following a 23-game goal drought.
3. Bruins LW Brad Marchand collected two assists Thursday to give him a team-high 15 points in the playoffs.
PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Hurricanes 2