Talking Points from the B's 4-0 win in Game 4 over Carolina

Talking Points from the B's 4-0 win in Game 4 over Carolina

GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron is always a beast in elimination games, and that was the case once again versus the Carolina Hurricanes. Bergeron finished with two goals, three points and a plus-2 rating in 16:42 of ice time, had six shots on net, a whopping 11 shot attempts, a hit, four takeaways and three blocked shots along with a 10-for-21 performance in the face-off circle.

David Pastrnak scored the game-winner while snapping in Boston’s first goal of the game, but Bergeron added the next to give the Bruins all of the cushion they would need to take down the Hurricanes. The entire Perfection Line was something special for the Black and Gold, but Bergeron really was at his best in the big game.

BLACK EYE: Jaccob Slavin is a talented defenseman, but he was not very good for the Hurricanes in this one. He had an outlet pass bounce right off Patrice Bergeron’s skate before it led to a goal for Bergeron, and he finished with a minus-1 rating in 23:29 of ice time.

Slavin didn’t have a single shot on net and finished with a couple of giveaways during the game, and really wasn’t much of a factor at all for a Canes team he helped drive through the first couple of rounds in the playoffs. In fact, Slavin finished without a point in the entire four-game sweep at the hands of the Bruins after he posted 11 points in 11 games.  

TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually had a scoreless first period battle with the Hurricanes and then just had the one David Pastrnak goal for much of the second period. It looked like Carolina might get a game-tying goal when the B’s fourth line and the Torey Krug/Brandon Carlo defense pairing were hemmed in the zone for a good two-plus minutes. But the Hurricanes never managed to score against the exhausted crew of players, and only managed a measly four shots on net for the entire period.

That kept the door open for Patrice Bergeron to score his first goal in the final minutes of the second after a goalie interference call, and that effectively slammed the door on Carolina’s chances.

HONORABLE MENTION: It wasn’t Tuukka Rask’s best night by any stretch of the imagination, but he still managed with a shutout while stopping 24 Carolina shots in the 4-0 victory. The shutout means that Rask has never lost a game in the conference final and has allowed only seven goals in eight conference final games over the course of his career.

Rask had some pretty good saves in the first period when both teams traded some chances, but things really tightened up for the Bruins in the final 40 minutes of the game as they effectively suffocated Carolina’s offense. That made for a less-than-busy night for Rask, who stopped everything he needed to while winning his seventh playoff game in a row.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17-for-50 – the NHL’s top power play in the playoffs kicked in a pair of goals in the Game 4 win and leads the entire playoff field with a 34 percent success rate this spring.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’ve earned the right to be where we are.” –Bruce Cassidy, on the podium after a Game 4 win that clinches their berth in the Stanley Cup Final.  

Highlights from Bruins' 4-0 win over the Hurricanes>>>

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Zdeno Chara joins Patrice Bergeron in admirable action this week while attending Boston protest

File photo

Zdeno Chara joins Patrice Bergeron in admirable action this week while attending Boston protest

The Boston Bruins leadership group has shown they are about more than simple lip service and social media posts when it comes to what’s been going on in this country over the last few weeks.

Patrice Bergeron made a $50,000 donation to a pair of worthy causes this week in the Boston branch of the NAACP and Centre Multiethnique de Quebec while releasing a lengthy, passionate statement through the Bruins.

B's captain Zdeno Chara was spotted in all his 6-foot-9 glory walking in Boston on Friday afternoon during one of the protests through the city streets while sporting a Bruins mask in the crowd.

None of this is a surprise as both the 43-year-old Chara and the 33-year-old Bergeron have fostered a welcoming, friendly environment in the Bruins dressing over the years. The Bruins veterans don’t even really use the word “rookie” because Chara has always believed that it creates unnecessary separation between younger and older teammates that shouldn’t exist in a team setting.

Bergeron is partially credited with helping pull a black teammate named Gemel Smith out of a mental funk that he was mired in during his time with the Bruins. Bergeron urged Smith to talk to somebody professionally when he sensed that something wasn’t quite right with his new teammate and it helped Smith turn things around personally and professionally when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.

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Smith ended up playing just three games with the Bruins last season after being picked up on waivers, but even in that brief time Bergeron had managed to reach out and make a connection with the player that made a lasting impact. That’s exactly the kind of healthy, welcoming dressing room that’s made the Bruins a success over the years.

There isn’t a long history of black players with the Bruins in recent years as Smith, Jarome Iginla and Malcolm Subban are the only black NHLers to suit up with Boston over the last decade. So there haven't been a great deal of opportunities for Bergeron, Chara and the rest of the B’s leadership core to show just much they embrace the diversity and equal treatment for all that so many around the NHL are voicing in the days since George Floyd was horrifically killed by Minneapolis police officers.

But give full credit to both Bergeron and Chara for stepping up this week, representing the Bruins in a manner they would be proud of and showing that it’s about actions as much as -- if not more than -- words when it comes to promoting equal treatment for all, and a better tomorrow for people of all races and backgrounds.

Breaking down the winners and losers of NHL 24-team season return format

Breaking down the winners and losers of NHL 24-team season return format

The NHL has their 24-team postseason format and they’ve even drilled down on some of the specifics this week.

We still don’t know exactly when the Stanley Cup postseason can start or when NHL training camps would be going full speed ahead. Also, all of the matchups beyond the “qualifying round” are still very much in the air.

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Clearly there is still plenty we don’t know about the Stanley Cup Playoffs once the NHL presses the play button in the next few months.

But we do know enough about the proposed postseason to know who will benefit, and who will be getting the short end of the stick. So that’s enough to put together the always popular winners and losers list when it comes to the new NHL postseason format. 

Click here for the gallery.