An otherwise stressful game, as Boston trailed twice before pulling it together.
Does the spoiler alert come before or after the summary? Ah, well, too late.
Jordan Staal took a tripping penalty barely more than thirty seconds in to the game, so that’s a start in the Bruins’ favor. No results on the Boston power play, though when you’re still getting into the flow of the game that’s not all that surprising. Even beyond the no-go PP, it was a real slow start on puck movement for both teams, though Carolina did come to hit: they had the early lead in the physicality department and nearly double the recorded Bruins hits by the end of the first.
Boston did a better job (and/or might have been challenged a bit less by the ‘Canes defense) of getting the puck further into the offensive zone, but their passes to the slot just weren’t connecting early. As the period wore on, the puck began sticking to the B’s a bit more, and some unique chances presented themselves - for example, a golden opportunity for Jake DeBrusk alone in front after a nifty passing sequence from Danton Heinen and David Krejci.
With just over two minutes remaining, Jeremy Lauzon tripped Brock McGinn, and on the ensuing power play, Carolina thoroughly embarrassed the PK defense by hacking at an undeterred puck in the low slot until it ended up in the net behind Jaroslav Halak. No GIF, just imagine lumberjacks hacking at ankles, or Happy Gilmore in the rough.
Another quick penalty to Brandon Carlo would see the period end, thankfully without further damage - and with thirty seconds left to kill to start the second.
This was almost the period that time forgot. Starting with the Carlo penalty, Carolina struggled to put together any momentum. Boston benefited from a penalty to Jaccob Slavin, who slashed Brad Marchand on a pretty solid 1-on-1 chance against Scott Darling. While on the power play, Boston gave up a 2-on-1 rush and a complete, literal, nobody-within-thirty-feet breakaway - and fortunately, Halak continues to stand taller than the expectations on Rask. Marchand would return the favor by slashing former teammate Dougie Hamilton, and on Carolina’s power play, Boston created similar shorthanded havoc, with Sean Kuraly (noted
scorer checker warm body) getting a golden chance in close on Darling.
Boston’s physicality ramped up a bit, likely at the urging of coach Bruce Cassidy, as by the midway point of the frame it had been 100 straight minutes of game play since Boston’s last goal. What was not unusual was Carolina’s high shot total - 20 counted on goal by the game’s halfway point, and they would end up with a 44-31 shot advantage over Boston.
Boston would FINALLY make good on the man advantage with a low-angle shot from - who else - David Pastrnak.
More penalties to Boston, more PP time for Carolina. John Moore put the puck over the defensive glass and yielded a Dougie Hamilton goal to give Carolina the lead again.
After a penalty to Lucas Wallmark for tripping, Boston would enjoy another advantage. And while a shorthanded rush by Carolina forward Warren Foegele looked dangerous at first, His Holiness the Patrice stripped the puck and made a great deep pass to Marchand, who rifled a wrister around Darling’s glove to tie the game back at 2 apiece.
Bergeron to Marchand, looooooong distance pic.twitter.com/cX9HfNQzUr— Autumnal Blinn (@NHLBlinn) October 31, 2018
AND, though you might not have noticed it from the clip, Carolina took a too-many-men penalty in the process of getting scored upon, so Boston immediately gained another two minute powerplay 18 seconds before the period expired.
The retained power play time would yield little. Who needs it? After four minutes passed, Brad Marchand dug in his edges on a great route behind the net to pot a forehand wraparound. 3-2, Bruins!
Brad Marchand enters wraparound god mode pic.twitter.com/MhSxtozr0h— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 31, 2018
The game would end this way, but not without a bit of stress, as Carolina pulled their goalie with about two minutes to play. A solid minute-plus of that was in the Bruins zone, yet the defense in front of Halak limited Carolina’s options and closed out the game.
- Brandon Carlo is moving his feet MUCH better this season, and it doesn’t feel like a fluke now that they’re almost 1/7th of the way through the NHL season. In his third full campaign he’s moved very well and, with stints alongside Zdeno Chara forced by Charlie McAvoy’s injury, Carlo is likely feeling the pressure to match Z’s calm presence - a great trait to spread around the defensive corps.
- Late in the game, coach Bruce Cassidy both shortened and shuffled his bench. He limited time to the struggling forwards (Anders Bjork, Ryan Donato, Joakim Nordstrom) and alterations to his top triplets (swapping David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk) to create new looks and unanticipated havoc for Carolina’s defense. To make these adjustments WHILE holding the lead speaks to Bruce’s willingness to gain an edge if he sees a possibility. It may also have been a new level of trust from Cassidy in Danton Heinen, as he’s definitely shown his defensive prowess.
- Uh, JARO HALAK. We should be surprised if Bruce kept him in for the game in Nashville later this week, if not for the next month straight. Let the guy keep burnin’ that fire.
Next game is Saturday at Nashville (8PM ET start) before a four-game homestand next week, which figures to be a stretch of true Western Conference tests.