GOLD STAR: Charlie Coyle was the best player on the ice for the Bruins on Tuesday night, so it was fitting that the big center ended up with the winning goal in the third period. Coyle had most of the rest of the scoring chances for the Black and Gold as well, including a rebound chance in the first period off a Matt Grzelcyk point shot. But it was the third-period play where Coyle went to the net and redirected a Brad Marchand pass that got the Bruins on the board with 4:05 left and injected some life into the team. Coyle finished with six shots on net, two hits, two blocked shots and a takeaway in 17:14 of ice time and played the kind of big boy game that the Bruins could use more of from one of their biggest forwards.
BLACK EYE: Sebastian Aho is usually a Bruins killer of the highest magnitude, but he was invisible on Tuesday night in a game where most of Carolina’s big guns were neutralized. Aho finished with a shot on net, two shot attempts and not much in the way of noticeable chances in 20:24 of ice time. Actually, Carolina scoring threats Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen were also kept from making many plays or creating too many chances. Obviously, that’s what led to the shutout for Jaroslav Halak, but it was less about the goaltending and more about the strong, hard-checking defense being played all over the ice.
TURNING POINT: The third period is the Bruins' turning point this season. That's where they've outscored opponents 39-20 this season. It’s the period where they enjoy the biggest goal differential with a plus-19 and it’s by far the period where they have scored the most goals (39) this season while routinely pulling away from opponents as they've done over their most recent homestand. On Tuesday night, it was the final five minutes where the Hurricanes finally cracked and Coyle was able to turn a good hustle play and a wild pass off the boards into a strong scoring play going to the net. Then the Bruins followed with another goal from David Krejci 68 seconds later to put away the 2-0 win - their eighth victory in a row.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brandon Carlo has played very well this season and that continued in a defensive grudge match against the Hurricanes. Carlo was immense in the defensive zone and did all of the little things while finishing with four shots on net, five hits and three blocked shots in 22:11 of ice time. He also finished with a plus-1 rating, but it’s his play as a defensive warrior that stands out. The biggest reason Carolina’s big forwards were shut down against the Bruins is that Carlo and Zdeno Chara decided they were going to do some shutting down, along with Charlie McAvoy, too. Carlo has flown under the radar because he’s not a big points guy, but he’s been sneaky excellent this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 500 – number of career games for Jaroslav Halak, who recorded a 24-save shutout, the 49th of his career, in the milestone effort against the Hurricanes.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It shows that we’re conditioned, and we have will, both. We know how to play when the game is on the line.” –Bruce Cassidy on the B’s tendency to pull away from opponents in the third period.
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