The Bruins vs. Hurricanes Game 3 was the second-biggest story of the day. In a surprise development, Bruins star goalie Tuukka Rask opted out of the rest of the playoffs. Meaning Jaroslav Halak would be the Bruins' starting goalie for the rest of the playoffs. Click here for a more detailed story from NBC Sports Boston on the Rask opt-out. Bruins GM Don Sweeney was asked about Rask’s decision and you can see those comments here from Boston Bruins.com.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the Bruins would still be without star forward David Pastrnak. Those weren't even all the roster moves as Nick Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman and Jeremy Lauzon were out of the Bruins lineup. Coyle's third-line wingers are now Sean Kuraly and Jack Studnicka, with Par Lindholm taking the fourth line center role. Connor Clifton was on the third pairing. Meanwhile, there was still a pivotal game to play, so let's get to the breakdown of game 3 Bruins vs. Hurricanes.
It only took 12 seconds but the theme of poor officiating was back. After a failed hit on Marchand by Aho resulted in a power play for the Hurricanes. The Canes best chance came on a shot from Teravainen but Halak was ready to make the save. Just under five minutes into the period, the Bruins got their first power play of the game. Coyle returns to the top unit and gets the best chance on the power play on a rebound but Mrazek makes the save. Halak, despite the situation, was sharp, stopping all eight shots he faced in the first ten minutes.
With five minutes to go, a slashing call on Bjork sent the Canes back on the power play. The Bruins finished the kill, but shortly after, Canes got a shot through Halak. As the puck hits the goal line, Halak grabs it with his glove obstructing the view of the puck and if it ever crosses the line. After a brief review, the call on the ice for no goal was upheld and it's still 0-0. With just over two minutes to go, the Canes get a double minor for high sticking on Nordstrom. With just twenty seconds left in the first Bergeron gets a chance on the doorstep but Mrazek robs him. The first period came to a close still tied 0-0.
The Bruins opened the period with just under two minutes left on the power play. Just 14 seconds into the rebound off a shot by Marchand bounces into the air and Coyle bats it through Mrazek and into the net. An impressive display of hand-eye coordination and it's 1-0 Bruins. Soon after the fourth line is out, they generate some zone time and chances. Then the third line comes out and has a great chance for Studnicka and the Bs are buzzing.
A turnover by Marchand leads to a chance for Aho but he rings the post. Halak then goes on a bit of an adventure out of his net, sliding to deny Williams an opportunity. During the same shift, Halak also makes a big stop on Stall right in front. The two teams continued to exchange penalties for the rest of the period, with the Bruins dominating in scoring chances. It's safe to say Mrazek is single-handedly keeping Carolina in the game. The final Bruins penalty came with just 28 seconds left and we headed the Bruins up 1-0. After a slow first period, the Bruins outshot Carolina 20-8 in the period.
Just over a minute into the period, the PK would strike. Coyle fires a shot pass to a crashing Kuraly and he tips home the puck to make it 2-0 Bruins. Coyle continued his dominance in the series, this time taking the body in the offensive zone and knocking multiple Hurricanes to the ice. The rough night for Bjork continues as he is called for his third minor penalty. Unfortunately for the Bruins, a mishandled puck from behind the net led to Carolina scoring on the power play.
While trying to clear the puck, Halak tries to throw it up the ice. It goes right to a waiting Niederreiter who puts the puck into an empty net, cutting the lead to one with over 13 minutes left. After the goal, the Canes have new life, but the Bruins defense is keeping them at bay. During a battle in front of the net Chara and Svechnikov get a little tangled and Svechnikov takes an awkward fall. His knee buckled in a way that many people probably had to turn away from the replay. It's something nobody ever wants to see, especially to such a talented player. With about 30 seconds left, Marchand scores on an empty net after a great lob pass from Krejci. Despite all the roster turmoil, he walked away with a 3-1 victory and a 2-1 series lead.
Charlie Coyle is the first star of Game 3 of the Bruins vs. Hurricanes. Not only did he score the first goal of the game, he also assisted on Kuraly's short-handed goal. Coyle was once again a dominant force on the ice. The second star goes to David Krejci. Krejci had assists on the first and final goals of the game. He also created a number of 5 on 5 chances as well as chances, working the point on the power play. The third star goes to Jaroslav Halak and Petr Mrazek. Halak stopped 29 of 30 shots after just hours earlier after learning he was now the number one goalie on the team. Mrazek stopped 36 of 38 shots and really kept the Hurricanes in the game.
This Bruins team is finding ways to win. No Pastrnak, no Rask, and with new players on three lines it doesn't matter they win. Championship teams find ways to win games, especially against good teams. The departure of Rask hurts makes no mistake, but Halak was still a top half of the league goalie if not top 10 this season. We all wish Rask the best and hope there is nothing serious going on back home. The team now moves on to a pivotal game 4 on Monday with a chance to take a 3 games to 1 lead in the series. As always stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!!
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