The Bruins strike first in their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Hurricanes, outlasting Carolina 4-3 in double overtime.
Here are some talking points following the Game 1 thriller.
GOLD STAR: Who else but Patrice Bergeron? The money players show up for the Bruins when the money is on the line and that’s exactly what happened in Game 1 against Carolina.
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Bergeron beat Petr Mrazek as the trailer after David Pastrnak dished back to him from the center of the ice on a three-man rush to the Hurricanes net. It wasn’t a great game for Bergeron by any means, but he stuck with it and finished with a game-winning goal and two points, a plus-1 in 24:31 of ice time and five shot attempts while matching up with Carolina’s best line.
Bergeron did have a couple giveaways and lost 17-of-31 draws on the afternoon, but he didn’t make any big mistakes and made the plays when they mattered in the game. It just continues to add to his legacy.
BLACK EYE: Jaccob Slavin once again was victimized by the Bruins. He is supposed to be Carolina’s shutdown guy and their best defender, but he was minus-2 in the Game 1 loss and is minus-5 in five playoff games against the Bruins in two postseasons.
It was Slavin who had his back to the play on Boston’s first goal when Carolina was beaten on a great face-off play with Brad Marchand wheeling through and feeding Pastrnak in front after a Bergeron face-off win. Slavin wasn’t terrible as he had six shot attempts, five hits and four blocked shots in an impressive 37:03 of ice time, but time and again he hasn’t been able to stop the Perfection Line when matched up against them.
It might be time for Carolina to try something else.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins really carried play for long stretches of time throughout the game, and that was the case in overtime when they outshot Carolina by a 12-7 margin. But it was a game-saving play from Charlie McAvoy in the first overtime that protected the win for the Bruins when he tied up a wide-open Warren Foegele in front of the net with Tuukka Rask out of position.
The play saved a game-winner for Carolina and pushed things into double overtime where the Bruins finally managed to score the game-winner just 1:13 into the extra session. It was all-around great play for McAvoy in his 33:52 of ice time that was a high point for the Bruins.
HONORABLE MENTION: It was without question McAvoy, who was Boston’s best player from beginning to end in the game. In fact, there were a few nervous moments in the first overtime session when McAvoy appeared to injure his lower body and left for the dressing room to get some repairs after crashing into Tuukka Rask in the net.
But McAvoy returned later in the overtime session and finished with an assist and a plus-1 in a game-high 33:52 of ice time along with five shots on net, eight shot attempts and a pair of blocked shots. McAvoy did have five giveaways while handling the puck quite a bit when he was on the ice, but he also had a number of scoring chances and continuously handled the Carolina pressure with ease.
If McAvoy plays like this consistently, the Bruins are in really good shape moving forward.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0-for-13 — the Bruins are an 0-fer on the power play during their time in the Toronto bubble, and it was a hot mess on Wednesday with a shorthanded goal allowed on a careless Pastrnak pass in the second period.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “These guys are battle tested. Certainly Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and Marchy [Brad Marchand], Pasta [David Pastrnak] have been through it — not as much as those guys. We’ve got a lot of trust in those guys.” —Bruce Cassidy, on any doubts on the top line’s readiness after they went without a goal in round robin play.