Two losses in Boston raised some doubts after consecutive wins at home, but back home at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes picked up where they left off with a 5-1 win.
The formula was a familiar one with Jordan Staal’s line tasked with shutting down Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak. With that as a starting point, the Hurricanes opened up an early lead, extended it and were never really challenged in the 5-1 win.
Defense partners Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo scored in the first period to stake the Canes to an early lead. And Seth Jarvis made a habit of hanging out where goals happen right at the top of the crease and was rewarded for it with two goals even if one was a lucky carom on a puck he was trying to pass out to the point. Vincent Trocheck finished the scoring with an empty-netter. The Bruins did not crack the scoreboard until the midway point of the third period and when the Canes already had four, so the game was never really in doubt once the Canes got going.
Player and other notes
1) Seth Jarvis
For an 20-year old skill player who is 5 foot 10 and 175 pounds, Seth Jarvis did yeoman’s work as a lunch pailer paying the price and fighting for real estate at the top of the crease and was rewarded for his effort to the tune of two goals. Some of the other Canes forwards could learn from Jarvis’ success in the grind of playoff hockey. It is not about size or strength; it is about willingness, determination and commitment.
The key two all three wins has been the ability of Staal’s line to neutralize Bergeron’s line. It took a 16-point outburst over the two games in Boston to highlight Boston’s strengths, but back in Raleigh, Staal’s line was back at it shutting them down.
3) Brady Skjei / Brett Pesce
Brett Pesce had another strong game. The highlight was the play where he somehow closed ground at the last second and swiped the puck off the stick of a Bruins player who seemed to be in alone, but more generally he was just solid all night. Like Staal’s line, Skjei/Pesce logged as many minutes as possible against Bergeron’s line and that duo deserves its share of credit for winning that battle.
4) Antti Raanta
Raanta was incredibly sharp throughout. He seems to be tracking the puck as well as he has at any point during the season. On Tuesday, he seemed to corral nearly every shot or otherwise direct it to where he wanted leaving very few rebounds for the Bruins to pursue.
5) Special teams
First and foremost, the Canes stayed out of the box. The penalty kill was perfect but only had to kill three penalties. Add in power play goals for DeAngelo and Jarvis, and the Canes reversed the ledger for plus two goals on special teams.
6) What does it take to win game 6 in Boston?
Match ups always play some role, but I cannot recall a playoff series where it has been this pronounced. Based on what happened in Boston in games 3 and 4 and the ability to go right back to steering Bergeron’s line away from Staal, it is difficult to be optimistic about game 6 in Boston. But at the same time, one has to feel good about the Canes chances to win out on home ice on Saturday.
For the Canes to win in Boston, I think it takes a break or two early. If Boston has to play from behind facing elimination, the pressure ratchets up a bit, and the Hurricanes are afforded the chance to play simple, safe hockey and just be opportunistic offensively. I also think it takes a much cleaner game than games 3 and 4 with many fewer penalties, missed coverages and errors in general.
Next up is a chance to win with house money in Boston on Thursday, but then also after that a chance to repeat the formula in Raleigh for a game 7 win if needed.