Bruins Insider

Haggerty: McAvoy, DeBrusk key furious third-period rally

Bruins Insider

For the 11th time in franchise history, the Bruins rallied to win a playoff game after facing a multi-goal deficit in the third period. On Monday, that meant scoring four goals in a span of just 6:51 to grab a 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes — and a 3-1 series lead.

Here are some Talking Points after the B's Game 4 victory in Toronto.

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk has been all over it with scoring chances throughout the series against the Carolina Hurricanes and he finally broke through in Boston's third period explosion against the Canes.

It all happened in the third period when DeBrusk made a great individual play to chip the puck to himself behind Haydn Fleury and then beat James Reimer to get the Bruins on the board. Then DeBrusk closed it out in the third period with another score to give the B’s the additional scoring they would need to close out the game. DeBrusk finished with three shots on net, nine shot attempts and the two goals along with a plus-1 rating in 16:07 of ice time, and changes how dangerous the B’s are when he can provide some secondary offense.

The whole third period comeback started with DeBrusk making a great individual play with his speed and his goal-scoring and that’s why he continues to get top-6 looks through all of his ups and downs.  

BLACK EYE: Once again Jaccob Slavin is supposed to be the shutdown defenseman for the Hurricanes and he was victimized by the Bruins.


Slavin finished a minus-2 in 29:09 of ice time and was caught watching the paint dry on an important breakaway goal for Brad Marchand in the third period. Marchand got behind both Carolina defenders and took a bank stretch pass off the side boards from Torey Krug to spring him, but it all started with Hurricanes defenders falling asleep and letting Marchand get behind them.

Slavin is a minus-4 in this series against the Bruins and is a minus-7 in each of the last two postseasons against a Black and Gold team that he can’t shut down. It’s going to be impossible for the Hurricanes to win against the Bruins if their best defenders can’t stop Boston’s best offensive players.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had already begun to gather energy with a Jake DeBrusk goal that halved Carolina’s lead, but the game turned when Charlie McAvoy lined up Jordan Staal and crushed him with a clean, punishing hip check.

The hit knocked Staal out of the game and gave the B’s exactly the kind of momentum they needed to leave the Hurricanes in the dust. Connor Clifton tied it up on the ensuing shift and the Bruins added two more goals in a seven-minute span to close out a 4-3 win where the B’s totally dominated the final 20 minutes.

For McAvoy, it’s another part of an outstanding postseason that the Bruins defenseman is putting together where he’s playing huge minutes, getting involved offensively with a more assertive style and bringing some physicality into the mix as well in game-changing fashion.

HONORABLE MENTION: Connor Clifton might not be coming out of the lineup for a while. The Bruins defenseman's first multi-point playoff game of his career included a game-tying goal in the third period.

Clifton was a physical factor with three registered hits in 14:37 of ice time, two shot attempts and he was aggressive with both his entries into the offensive zone and his willingness to push the envelope for the Black and Gold. Clifton has actually been the best version of himself in this postseason for the Bruins, and it may be that Jeremy Lauzon isn’t going to be getting another chance to play for a bit. Because it feels like Cliffy Hockey is here to stay for now.

There were times during the regular season when Clifton wasn’t much of a factor in games, but he’s been noticeable just about every time that he’s been out there recently.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 16-2 – the shots on net disparity between the Bruins and the Hurricanes in the third period as the B’s clearly decided to take things to a level that Carolina just can’t get to at this point in time in their development.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “He’s got a lot of meat over there.” -- Jake DeBrusk on the force of the devastating Charlie McAvoy hip check on Jordan Staal.