After a tough 4-3 double overtime loss to start the series after an odd reschedule/delay, the Hurricanes were right back on the ice a day later seeking a win to even the series.
The game did not start particularly well. Play was disjointed for the Hurricanes and also somewhat for the Bruins. At times, the game looked like ping pong with each team taking turns retrieving pucks in its own end, advancing to the neutral zone and then pitching it forward to be retrieved by the other team. In general, the first period was fairly buttoned down both ways. But the Bruins capitalized on a late power play and exited the period up 1-0.
The front part of the second period was more of the game. Along the way, the Hurricanes encountered more adversity and just bizarreness from the officiating. Jordan Staal had his helmet ripped off without a call. And my absolute favorite play so far in this regard was Andrei Svechnikov getting elbowed in the head by Charlie McAvoy and then retaliating by boarding him in the corner. Somehow the referees missed not one but both of the dangerous penalties but send Zdeno Chara and Andrei Svechnikov to the box for roughing after the more serious infractions were missed. After another ‘meh’ start, the Hurricanes seemed to find a higher gear about midway through the second period. It was not even so much that the Canes were better or had a significant advantage as a switch seemed to flip the game in total into random/frenetic mode. The shift seemed to benefit the Hurricanes who scored twice in the second half of the second period. First, Andrei Svechnikov deftly retrieved a puck, avoided being separated from it and made a spinning pass across the Teuvo Teravainen. Teravainen made no mistake finishing on the power play. Then the Hurricanes scored again with Martin Necas found Andrei Svechnikov between the circles. Svechnikov finished to give the Hurricanes a one-goal lead. Just when things seemed to be turning to the Hurricanes’ favor, Teravainen was whistled for an interference penalty that saw Torey Krug unaware and tripped up by Teravainen who was mostly just holding his ground and/or trying to avoid a high stick. Brad Marchand scored with five seconds remaining in the period to tie the game at 2-2 and potentially suck any positive energy out of the Canes.
The front part of the third period featured more officiating controversy. The Hurricanes put the puck in the net early in the third period only to have it waived off when Teravainen was pushed into goalie Tuuka Rask. As I said on Twitter, I was actually okay with this call. Though Teravainen was pushed in, Rask was impeded in the crease. I would have called it incidental contact and waived off the goal too. But piled on top of what had come before, it seemed like another shot at the Canes. But the Hurricanes killed off the penalty for the failed challenge and kept pushing. Dougie Hamilton scored on a Martin Necas feed 8:30 into the third period to stake the Hurricanes to a 3-2 lead. The remainder of the game continued to be frenetic and saw the Bruins push, but James Reimer had answers and the Canes survived for a 3-2 win.
The top stories of the game for me were the Canes seeming to dictate and thrive in a more frenetic style of play and the resiliency of the team that faced setbacks from the officiating and also the ups and downs of the scoreboard.
Player and other notes
1) The kids are alright
Leading the offense were Svechnikov and Necas. Svechnikov found the on switch for the offense with his heady pass on Teravainen’s goal and then a goal of his own. Necas had the pretty feed on Svechnikov’s goal and also the set up on Hamilton’s game-winner. The young duo was instrumental in the win obviously. Almost as cool was the two of them at the post-game press conference looking like college kids who just arrived in the area for the start of fall classes.
2) James Reimer
Reimer was great again. The game was a challenging one in net. There were stretches where the Bruins were outplaying the Canes and also stretches where the play just seemed haphazard. The result was a good number of battles around the crease with the puck in the neighborhood. But James Reimer had the answer when needed and finished the game with his second win of the 2020 NHL Playoffs and 33 saves on 35 shots.
3) Rod Brind’Amour
Brind’Amour deservedly gets credit for his ability to relate to, motivate and coach players. But I think he can sometimes his ability to make tactical decisions can be underrated. He continues to have an incredibly good record managing goalie starts. And on Thursday, he pulled some levers to help get the Canes going. With Boston having last change as the home team, the Bruins were able to hold the Canes top-heavy first line in check in game one. On Thursday, Brind’Amour separated Svechnikov from the line. The move paid dividends as Svechnkov’s new line figured into both even strength goals.
4) Dougie Hamilton
Before this game, I was clamoring for the Hurricanes to find more sources for offense. On Thursday, Dougie Hamilton chipped in a huge game-winning goal. Here is hoping that triggers a run similar to what he did in the first half of the 2019-20 season.
With all of the forward lines having earned Brind’Amour’s trust, he is mostly rolling four lines right now when not interrupted by special teams play. On Thursday, low ice time for the forwards was Warren Foegele at 10:52 and high ice time was Sebastian Aho at 18:53 with a number of players clustered pretty close together in the middle. Especially if the Hurricanes can receive some scoring from each line, that bodes well for staying reasonably fresh over a long series with two sets of back-to-backs.
Next up is another matinee at 12pm on Saturday with the Hurricanes having the home team advantage of last change on face-offs.
Now that looked like playoff hockey… except for the beer league refs. I expected better with Wes McAuley suited up.
The thing that stood out to me was the resilience and persistence of the canes. A questionable call that leads to a PP goal against right before the end of the period is usually a confidence destroyer. This happened not once but twice, yet the canes persisted and took home a well deserved win.
Shot placement was also a thing of beauty. The boys are sneaking the puck in just under the crossbar, where Rask can struggle.
And also kudos to RBA for switching up the lines, that seemed to make the difference, as well as for utilizing depth on D. TVR had the one mistake on Marchand but the benefit of playing fresh legs on the back-to-back (as well as not overusing players) will pay off in the long run.
Very entertaining game. Boston is very good at “instigating” to get retaliatory calls; the league needs to take a look at a handful of plays from last night’s game and clean up the officiating before something really egregious happens. The already-mentioned McAvoy helmet rip and Krug’s dive quickly come to mind, but I also didn’t like how Chara held Svetch in the corner while McAvoy moved in with a greasy hand.
The boys need to stay aware of that BOS tendency and stay focused on playing hockey, which they have succeeded at so far.
Our team depth on defense was on display last night as both TvR and Vatanen had solid games. Fleury is rising to the occasion and I expect BOS to go after him physically to try and get into his head, especially if he continues to hit people.
You have the feeling that someone is going to fight McAvoy before this series is over and, frankly, he deserves what he has coming to him.
The Canes finally found some room on the ice later in the second period and they were able to find their game. Necas looks a lot better with someone who can bury a puck on his line. Sorry, Nino… Moving Svechnikov was what the doctor ordered. Make the Bruins pick their poison with their top defensive group, who are very, very good. As effective as Foegele was in the playoffs last year, he is ineffective this year. Notice how Geekie kept getting shifts late in the game, and even moved up? Kid can play the game and is probably the Canes best guy down low on the boards.
Svech did not look like himself in Game 1 and just looked uncomfortable and not confident. He really built a game last night and the finish on that goal was beautiful. Love the physical edge he brings.
Necas – wow, incredible game. Two elite assists in the biggest game of the season so far. Trocheck has been great as well. If Necas-Troch-Svech can build on this, Canes could have two dangerous top lines. If RBA keeps them together, perhaps Williams should get a shot with Aho-TT. He can be a nice compliment to scorers and feels a bit wasted on Staal’s line.
I think Nino has to continue to sit. He’s just not the guy he was last season and takes too many unnecessary penalties. And Dzingel has looked good.
I like the idea of leaving Svechnikov with Trocheck and Necas at least 2 start Saturday’s game. ‘Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.’ …Though with last change, I could see Brind’Amour going top-heavy again.
I also like the idea of Williams with Teravainen/Aho. Last year before they tried it, I was not a fan, as I did not think Williams could keep up. But what he brings is a heady player who can play without the puck and finish a bit. The meshes well with Aho and Teravainen’s playmaking ability.
Regardless, the series suddenly looks way different tied at 1-1 heading into Saturday.
I held off before commenting to decompress from the horrible officiating. Both challenges were incorrectly ruled. You have a stick knocked out of your hands and broken in two, no call. You have a helmet ripped of your head, no call. And turbos penalty, seriously. This is corrupt. The nhl fines RBA for saying what was obvious to everyone but yet nothing is said about officiating which was incompetent.
How is this allowed. I understand the NHL does not want coaches saying things because it could get out of control every game. And I understand they wish it rip the officials in private, but this is over the top what is being allowed. I would not have a job if I performed like that. I hope there is some serious a** chewing going on behind the scenes. If the NHL wants viewership, you do not do that by allowing what has been going on. Things are not evening out, it’s been absurd. If the officials have a vendetta against RBA, they need to be benched. Their job is to officiate a game fairly. Rant over.
The team is playing well. Some rust and maybe a slow start but really good opposition make you look like that. The Bs are really good, so are we. Great goal tending. I agree that Nino just is not producing. It will be interesting to see what is done with the lineup when we get home field advantage. Staal’s line is defensive and as long as they shut down the other teams top line, not having massive goals is okay.
The balance is great and Dougie is already starting to make a difference. Svech is going. We are going to give the Bs a run for the money. I think we are right there with them and maybe a little faster due to being younger.
Great points ice man. The NHL is indeed a joke until they break the Union. Refs thinking they are more important than the game is absurd.
RBA has called the refs out through his career, and they hate him for it. He was the obvious choice for the Conn Smythe after the cup win, but it was given to a rookie who played less than half of the games. Terrible “FU” from the union, the worst injustice on the history of the Stanley Cup.
And here we are.
The refs union still thinks the NHL, owners, teams, players, and fans are here to serve them instead of the other way around. Fire every damn one of them, the game would be better served by less experienced people who were trying to do a good job.
They need to at least pretend like getting it right is important.
As Roddy said, the NHL is a joke. At least until they take their manhood out of the jar on the shelf and re-attach it.
I have never bought a ticket to watch the refs. The value proposition of professional sports is that it is a pure meritocracy, where the team who plays best wins. When the refs ignore meritocracy, the value proposition of sport is destroyed.
Crush the damn union and move on. The players deserve it.
PS for new readers the referees pick the Conn Smythe winner.
Necas has been near elite with his passing and there were a few times yesterday I said “look at that hit/check by Necas”. I missed the first half of the game (date night) but I loved what I saw in the second half. The B’s were buzzing, the refs were unkind but the players responded. That is all you can ask – control what you can control. Well done. And if you caught Rask’s remarks after the game (we feeling like we are playing in exhibition games) you have to think the bubble is getting into the Bruins’ heads. But they will continue to buzz, they will continue to play physical, and they will continue to agitate. We just have play hockey.