The Carolina Hurricanes looked more like the pushovers that the Bruins saw earlier in the year than the red hot team that knocked off Marty Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. The Bruins established a physical presence early in the game and took advantage of the scoring opportunities that they created en route to a 4-1 victory over the Hurricanes in Game1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Bruins struck first just 1:34 into the game when David Krejci get to the slot and deflected Aaron Ward's wrist shot from point past Cam Ward for the early 1-0 lead. Michael Ryder picked up his team-best 8th point of the playoffs with a secondary assist on the goal. (UPDATE 5/2 4:45 PM: The scoring on this goal was changed to Aaron Ward from Michael Ryder and David Krejci. In an interview with WBZ during the first intermission, Krjeci denied making contact with the puck. It looked as though Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg may have deflected the puck into the net.)
The Hurricanes evened the score at 1-1 with 1:10 left in the first period on a strange play that resulted in both a goal and a goaltender interference. Joni Pitkanen dumped the puck into the attacking zone and Ryan Bayda tracked down the puck and left a drop pass for Jussi Jokinen before continued towards the net. Jokinen fired a shot from the top of left circle that beat Tim Thomas. After the puck had crossed the goal line, Ryan Bayda ran into Tim Thomas, earning a 2 minute minor for goaltender interference.
Marc Savard got the lead back for the Bruins 7:21 into the second period, when his backhander off of Phil Kessel's shot beat Cam Ward. Phil Kessel took a hard hit in the corner but was able to get up and stay with the play and regain possession.
The Bruins extended their lead to 3-1 with 7:19 remaining in the middle period on a great individual effort from Michael Ryder. Ryder picked off a pass in the neutral zone, skated in and fired a hard snap shot that beat Cam Ward over the shoulder for his 5th goal of the playoffs.
Phil Kessel left a drop pass at the top of the right circle for Marc Savard, who ripped a slap shot to give the Bruins a 4-1 lead 7:21 into the third period.
Tim Thomas made some spectacular saves tonight, turning away 26 of the 27 shots that he faced.
The Bruins and Hurricanes will meet again in Game 2 on Sunday night in Boston.
- It is good to see the Bruins take the first game after the long layoff. It appears that the long layoff helped the Bruins get healthy and get some needed rest.
- The Bruins have now outscored the Hurricanes 22-7 this season (regular season and playoffs).
- Zdeno Chara and the B's shutdown Eric Staal again. Staal has 0 points and is a minus-7 in 5 games against the B's this year.
- The Bruins out-hit the Hurricanes 32-23. Every skater for the Bruins except 2 guys recorded hits. I'll give you 2 guesses who they were. Hint: they made up for it with their offensive play. Shawn Thornton threw the body around and recorded 7 hits in 10:34 of ice time.
- Despite the physical play by the B's, they were able to stay disciplined and only took 2 minor penalties (both by Chara and one was a matching penalty).
- The Carolina Hurricanes looked about as outclassed as a Suffolk Downs pony trying to run the Kentucky Derby.
- The Bruins have to come out with that same effort and intensity for the rest of this series. The Canes-Devils series showed that the Hurricanes don't quit.