Just the facts
When: 3:00 PM (Eastern time)
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
How to follow: NBC, CBC, TVAS, SportsNet, Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Rival SBN site: Canes Country
Know your enemy
- Goals: Teuvo Teravainen, 6
- Assists: Jaccob Slavin, 11
- Points: Slavin... with all his assists!
Game 1 of this series saw Boston strike first, overcome a deficit, and pour in power-play goals in the third period en route to a 5-2 victory. Hustle from David Backes and a solid substitution by Steve Kampfer in Charlie McAvoy’s absence was huge, as the young stud is a major cog in the Bruins’ top unit. We knew McAvoy would become the featured player on the top pair, but how quickly he would surpass Chara in terms of usage was a bit of a surprise. (A product of Charlie growing and Chara slowing, of course.)
Now that McAvoy has served his suspension, he’ll be right back in the thick of action, figuring to play about 25 minutes through a regulation game. Though a suspension is not to be sought out, the extra rest - even for a young dude like McAvoy - can only help his energy levels in the game. What’s more, forcing your team to battle without you by getting suspended will (hopefully) serve as motivation to the young defenseman to stay firmly involved in all facets of his game.
Charlie is hardly the story, however, and the strong play of Tuukka Rask has seen plenty of ink in recent weeks. Pushing the Bruins to the conference final has not been at the will of an elite defenseman in the making, nor an aging-but-maybe-debatably-still-sorta-elite goalie. No, the continued contributions from bottom-six forwards have ensured that the team does not need to rely on their top unit to score - a luxury they were not afforded in last year’s postseason. Marcus Johansson scored his third goal of the postseason and added an assist, while Chris Wagner got a garbage-time-but-not-garbage-goal on seven shots in Thursday’s game. SEVEN. SHOTS. CHRIS. WAGNER. Does not compute. The next highest Bruin was Patrice Bergeron with 4, and no one on Carolina had more than 3.
Though it may appear the defense aren’t getting as involved as they should on the scoresheet, The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa wrote a few days ago (paywall warning) about Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy’s emphasis on maintaining discipline and trusting the forward group to get the job done. Continued contributions from the team’s roster depth are going to be key to extending the Bruins’ hot streak as they look to win their fifth game in a row on Sunday afternoon.