Why Bruins' great response to adversity in Game 6 should help them in Game 7


BOSTON -- The Bruins forced a Game 7 in their first-round series against the Hurricanes with a dominant 5-2 win in Thursday night's Game 6 at TD Garden, but don't let the final score fool you, the home team did have to weather some adversity.

The B's built a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in the second period. Through 40 minutes, it looked like Boston would cruise to another victory.

But the Hurricanes weren't finished yet. They scored just 3:24 into the third period when Andrei Svechnikov beat Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman to trim the deficit in half with a lot of hockey still to play.

The Bruins' response was perfect. 

They didn't panic. They didn't let the Hurricanes build on their momentum. They kept pushing and their effort was rewarded with a pivotal goal from Erik Haula four minutes later to increase the lead to 3-1. Haula's goal came after an extended shift in the attacking zone during which Boston won multiple puck battles and wore down the 'Canes before Charlie McAvoy found the veteran center with a pretty pass to the front of the net.

The Bruins began to pour it on from there, ultimately scoring twice more before securing a 5-2 victory to force a decisive Game 7 in Carolina on Saturday night. But it was that 4-minute sequence after the Hurricanes' first goal that really impressed B's head coach Bruce Cassidy, and he believes the resiliency the team showed during that stretch will serve them well in hostile territory this weekend.


"Tonight it's 2-0 and kind of a broken play they score and all of a sudden, third period it's 2-1. I thought our guys -- it was probably one of the best things we did tonight was respond after they made it 2-1," Cassidy said. "Earlier this year, we'd have to fight through that longer. Right away we came right back down, played the right way, managed the puck and scored the next goal. 

"That's a good sign which will carry over into to Game 7 should it happen again. If they score the first goal, or if something bad happens, penalty calls or a 5-on-3, you got to keep playing. I think that will help us a lot."

The Bruins did not respond well to adversity in their three losses at PNC Arena this series.

In Game 1, the Hurricanes opened the scoring in the second period and doubled their lead 130 seconds later. The Bruins cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third period, but a bad pinch by Matt Grzelcyk sprung a 2-on-1 rush that the 'Canes buried en route to a 5-1 victory.

In Game 2, Carolina again scored the first goal in the opening period and doubled its lead less than two minutes later. A similar scenario unfolded in Game 5 when the 'Canes scored twice in a six-minute span during the first period and cruised to a 5-2 win.

Game 6 was a different story. The Bruins easily could have buckled under the pressure of having just a one-goal lead in the third period while facing elimination against an opponent which, at that point, had scored 20 (!) goals in the series.

The Bruins instead raised their compete level and attention to detail. They didn't give up puck possession easily and pushed hard for an insurance goal. It was the type of response you'd expect from a veteran-led team with guys who've won a Stanley Cup like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

It's the type of mindset the B's must carry into Game 7 in a building they've yet to win at in four tries this season. The Bruins will face adversity Saturday night, and whether they respond like they did in Game 6 will go a long way in determining their fate.