Game 4 of the Bruins vs. Hurricanes presents an opportunity for the Bruins to take a three-game to one-game lead. Despite the late news of Rask opting out, the Bruins had their best defensive effort in game three. Some more good news for the Bruins is Pastrnak was able to take part in an optional skate on Sunday. According to coach Cassidy Pasta is 50/50 to play in game four. Here is an article covering the coach’s media session on Sunday. The Bruins will need to be ready with another solid performance. This Hurricanes team is going to come out flying as they know the odds of coming back from down 3-1 are very slim.
Star winger Andrei Svechnikov went down in the final minutes of game three with an apparent knee injury. During a net-front battle, he fell awkwardly causing his knee to buckle and bend in a way we all know it shouldn't. According to Canes’ coach Rod Brind’Amour Svechnikov is highly doubtful to return to the series. Here is an NHL.com article covering the coach’s comments on the injury. According to coach Brind’Amour, the Canes will have a fluid lineup so they may not just stick with the same lines they start with. Ryan Dzingle will be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch last game. The Hurricanes will also likely go back to James Reimer, who won game 2 stopping 33 of 35 shots.
The Bruins might have Pastrnak back, but it wouldn't be a surprise if they were cautious with their star forward. If Pasta is unable to play, look for largely the same lineup as last game since it was pretty effective. The Bruins power play has also finally woken up after its slow start. After going 0-13 the Bruins went 3-8 on the power play in games two and three. Much of that success can be attributed to the great play of Krejci and Coyle. The game will also be another chance for Halak to build some confidence as the team's starter going forward. Despite a turnover that gifted the Hurricanes a goal, Halak stopped 29-30 shots in the last game. The team will be looking to keep the defensive pressure on and the momentum going.
What to Watch For
The first is how Hurricanes star players stepped up to fill the void left by Svechnikov's injury. Guys like Aho, Teravainen, Stall and, Hamilton will all need to reach another gear to keep that offense going. Another thing to watch is their depth. With Niederreiter, Dzingle and, Williams combining for two points in the playoffs, those guys need to get better if this series is to go six games. Watch out for the Bruins second line. The second line has looked like the Bruins' most dangerous line so far this series.
With Krejci already in top form, it's only a matter of time before Kase and Debrusk break out and really start scoring. Finally, the battle of the 1B goalies. Fair or not, neither of the starting goalies entered this series as their team's top option. Reimer stole the win in game 2 stopping 33 of 35 shots, and so far has outplayed Mrazek. Halak is now the Bruins starter, and in-game 3 proved he was up to the task stopping 29 of 30 shots.
Game 4 of the Bruins vs. Hurricanes could be a turning point in the series. If the Hurricanes can rally around Svechnikov's injury and pull off a win, it's a whole new series. If the Bruins play as they did in game 3 and go up 3-1 I think it's over in game 5. Every game has been a battle to the final whistle and I don't expect anything different today. I do think the Bruins walked away with a victory in game 4 simply because their depth has already stepped up. The top line has not been carrying the load offensively, which is a good sign for this team. If Bergeron and Marchand can have a great game with whoever is on their wing, I think the Bruins will take this one 4-2. As always, stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of USA TODAY Sports.