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For 16 periods over six games, the Carolina Hurricanes dominated the Boston Bruins.
Five straight wins – including two in the playoffs. Twenty-six goals to three. Never did the Hurricanes even trail the Bruins over 325 minutes, 41 seconds.
“It’s been a while,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, noting that the teams didn’t play in the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, so they hadn’t beaten Carolina since 2020. “Playing with a lead, we’ve talked about that’s enough. It makes a difference for both teams. ”
Brad Marchand scored the go-ahead goal to give Boston its first lead against Carolina all season. Then they added a pair of assists to help the Bruins hold on and beat the Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
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Bruins rookie Jeremy Swayman stopped 25 shots in his first career playoff start after Linus Ullmark allowed eight goals in the first two games, both Hurricanes victories. That followed a regular season in which Carolina swept all three games, outscoring the Bruins 16-1 and never trailing.
Charlie Coyle scored a short-handed goal and added an assist, and David Pastrnak had a power-play goal and an assist for Boston, which hopes to even the best-of-seven series when it hosts Game 4 on Sunday. Taylor Hall added a power-play goal for the Bruins to make it 4-1 early in the third period.
“When JD (Jake DeBrusk) and CC made that play short-handed to get us back in the game, it just changed the whole demeanor,” Marchand said. “We had been playing catch-up all series. It just felt good to know we can respond.”
Vincent Trocheck and Jaccob Slavin scored for Carolina, and backup goalie Pyotr Kochetkov made 24 saves in his first career playoff start. He took over in Game 2 after starter Antti Raanta was injected in a collision with Pastrnak.
Trocheck gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead, swiping in a rebound just as he was belatedly knocked down in front of the net. But Coyle tied it to a 2-on-1 give-and-go with DeBrusk with 2:44 left in the first.
“Obviously, that’s a huge goal for them,” Slavin said. “Our power play should be giving us momentum, not taking it away.”
Five minutes into the second, Marchand fought for the puck along the boards and headed for the slot, where he picked up Patrice Bergeron’s deflected shot and went high over Kochetkov. It was Boston’s first lead over the Hurricanes since eliminating them in the first round of the 2020 postseason.
“We know what the issue was,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We had a decent first period and then the power play gave up a shorty and they got some life out of it.”
The Hurricanes took back-to-back penalties late in the second, and soon after the 5-on-3 became a one-man advantage, Pastrnak wristed one in from the left circle to make it 3-1.
The Hurricanes lost forward Jordan Martinook in the second period when they got his legs tangled up with Hall. Martinook got back on his skates, but couldn’t put any weight on his right ankle.
He went down the tunnel and the Hurricanes said they would not return.
“That one’s going to be questionable,” Brind’Amour said. “He looked pretty rough in there.”
The game was delayed for about seven minutes when a section of the glass fell on NHL off-ice official Joe Foley while he was working in the Bruins penalty box.
Play was whistled dead with 5:07 left in the second period and medical staff ran across the ice to tend to the official. He was taken off on a stretcher and given a cheer by the Boston fans.
The glass separated the Boston penalty box from the stands. Play resumed with a police officer in the stands to maintain a barrier.
NHL spokesman John Dellapina said Foley, the commercial coordinator, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for observation.
“We heard he’s doing all right and he’s going to be fine,” Pastrnak said.