The Boston Bruins needed more than 60 minutes to win their fifth consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff game versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron scored 1:12 into the second overtime period of Wednesday's first round Game 1 to give Boston a 4-3 victory. The B's dominated play for large stretches, earning a 77-63 edge in shot attempts, a 35-23 advantage in shots on goal, and a 43-32 lead in scoring chances during 5-on-5 play. Boston also played a solid defensive game and held Carolina to just 28 shots on goal overall -- five less than its season average.
Here are three takeaways from Game 1.
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1. David Krejci Line Shines
The Bruins' second line of Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Ondrej Kase played well in the round robin finale against the Washington Capitals, and this trio took its game to an even higher level versus the Hurricanes.
The Krejci line dominated puck possession with a 23-7 edge in shot attempts at 5-on-5. It also held a 12-5 edge in scoring chances and a 13-1 advantage in shots on goal during 14:01 of 5-on-5 ice time.
Krejci gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead early in the third period -- a deserved goal for his line given its constant pressure in the offensive zone. It was the veteran center's 37th career playoff goal, moving him past Bruins legend Ray Bourque for seventh place in team history.
Krejci's passing was phenomenal the entire game, and he would've had two or three assists if DeBrusk was able to bury some of his scoring chances. DeBrusk nearly scored twice, but he hit the post on both of his best chances. His stuck got the worst of it, though, as you can see in the video below:
Secondary scoring will be massive for the Bruins in the playoffs, and this second line will shoulder the majority of that responsibility. It answered the challenge in Game 1, but more encouraging for the Bruins is the chemistry that this trio appears to be developing despite its limited ice time together.
2. Top Line Finally Produced
The Bruins' top line tallied just a single point (a Bergeron assist) in the three round robin games, but it didn't take long for this trio to make an impact against the Hurricanes. David Pastrnak got Boston on the board with a goal late in the first period that was created by a Bergeron faceoff win in the offensive zone and a great pass by Brad Marchand.
The most important goal also was scored by this line when Bergeron beat Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek a little more than a minute into the second overtime period to seal a victory for Boston.
Bergeron finished with a goal and an assist, as did Pastrnak, while Marchand tallied two assists.
This line dominated the Hurricanes in last season's Eastern Conference Final with a combined six goals in four games. The Bruins will advance to the second round if they get similar production from the Bergeron line in this year's series, and it's off to a good start through one game.
3. Power Play Still Struggling
It would be one thing if the Bruins power play was not scoring but still generating quality chances. Unfortunately for the B's, their power play is not only failing to generate scoring chances, the units are having trouble just entering the attacking zone.
Boston's power play was a mess in Game 1 and didn't score on any of its four opportunities. Seven shot attempts, three shots on goal and three scoring chances in 8:13 of action with the man advantage is not going to get the job done. The Bruins even gave up a shorthanded goal 21 seconds after taking their first lead. Brock McGinn intercepted a lazy pass by Pastrnak along the blue line and beat Tuukka Rask on a breakaway.
An effective power play is not required for a deep playoff run -- just look at the 2011 Bruins -- but it certainly has the potential to be a huge advantage. The B's must make some adjustments on the power play if they're going to find some success against a stingy Hurricanes penalty kill that ranked fourth-best in the league during the regular season and is 13-for-14 in the playoffs (including the qualifying round).