The Boston Bruins have no more margin for error.
The Hurricanes regained the momentum in their first-round playoff series against the Bruins with a dominant 5-1 victory in Tuesday night's Game 5 at PNC Arena. Carolina now has a 3-2 series lead and can eliminate Boston in Thursday night's Game 6 at TD Garden.
The Bruins are 0-4-0 and have been outscored 18-4 in Carolina this season, with those last three losses coming in this series.
The B's now need to win back-to-back games to save their season. The last time they won a Game 6 at home and a Game 7 on the road to overcome a 3-2 series deficit was the 2011 Stanley Cup Final versus the Vancouver Canucks.
Before looking ahead to Game 6, here are three takeaways from Bruins-Hurricanes Game 5.
1) Poor start dooms Bruins again
The Hurricanes have scored the first goal in all eight of their games against the Bruins this season, including each matchup in this Round 1 series.
Carolina got on the board at 6:11 of the first period when defenseman Jaccob Slavin fired a shot past B's goalie Jeremy Swayman from inside the left faceoff circle. Swayman, who caught a piece of the puck but not enough, should've done better to stop that shot.
The Hurricanes doubled their lead six minutes later on the power play. Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort got a rough whistle after a scrum and was the only player involved to go to the penalty box. 'Canes defenseman Tony DeAngelo fired a shot from the point through traffic and past Swayman for his first goal of the series.
The Bruins didn't respond well after the first goal. Instead of playing desperate hockey to tie the score, they were outshot 10-3 over the final 13:49 of the opening period. The Hurricanes played with much more energy and physicality, and their effort was rewarded with a two-goal advantage.
Falling behind by multiple goals to the Hurricanes and beating them is a nearly impossible task for opponents given Carolina's 45-1-0 record (3-0-0 this series) in those situations this season.
2) 'Canes still the better team at even strength
The Hurricanes entered this game with a 12-6 edge in goals scored and a 79-75 advantage in scoring chances during 175:55 of even-strength ice time in this series. Carolina improved on those numbers in Game 5.
Here's a look at the Hurricanes' advantage at even strength Tuesday night:
- Scoring chances: 30-23 Hurricanes
- High-danger chances: 13-10 Hurricanes
- Goals: 3-1 Hurricanes
The Bruins can't rely on special teams to save their season. The have to play much better at even strength, which they absolutely are capable of doing. The B's ranked No. 4 in goals against, No. 1 in shots on net against and No. 1 in scoring chances against through 82 regular season games. That's the team that must show up over the next two games if the Bruins are going to win the series.
3) Advantage Carolina on special teams
Special teams powered the Bruins to wins in Game 3 and Game 4 in Boston. In Game 5, special teams was a huge reason why the B's lost.
Boston's penalty kill was fantastic in the previous two matchups, blocking tons of shots and prevent the Hurricanes from scoring on all 10 of their power-play opportunities. The penalty kill struggled Thursday night, allowing two goals, 10 shots on net and 10 scoring chances on five Carolina power plays.
The Bruins couldn't clear the puck on an early third-period penalty kill and the puck ended up in the back of their net. This goal, credited to 'Canes rookie Seth Jarvis, pretty much ended any chance of Boston making a comeback.
The Bruins' own power play was unable to provide a much-needed spark offensively, failing to score on all three of its opportunities. The B's also shot themselves in the foot by taking penalties on two of their power play chances.