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Bruins should be cautiously optimistic about series lead against Carolina Hurricanes

Up two games is no time to get complacent.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins realistically couldn’t have had Game 2 go any better. The club was successfully able to rattle both the Carolina Hurricanes’ goaltender and their captain in a 6-2 rout. They just looked flat-out better than the opposition in every way imaginable. Something the Canes haven’t experienced since Round 1 against the Washington Capitals when they lost Game 5 to the tune of a lopsided 6-0.

But here is exactly where a potential problem lies: after being defeated handly on the road, Carolina bounced back and won the next two games against the defending Stanley Cup Champions while on the brink of elimination.

Talk about mental fortitude.

Although the saying ‘If you’ve done it before, you can do it again’ has some merit, the Bunch of Jerks’ ability to bounce back following a blowout in Round 1 does not happen to be a carbon copy situation in Round 3.

In that Game 5, what did the Hurricanes in was the combination of Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The two combined for an astounding seven points in the contest.

However, head coach Rod Brind’Amour fixed this problem by assigning the defensive duo of Brett Pesce and Justin Faulk the tough assignment in Games 6 and 7 rather than Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton, who had matched against them in Game 5. This alteration worked magnificently and proved to be an integral coaching decision.

The solution to slowing down the Bruins won’t be that simple for the Canes, however. The issue hasn’t been containing Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Carolina already did that in Game 2. The problems run a little deeper... literally.

Boston’s ability to get contributions from all over its lineup exceeds that of Washington’s. Throughout the course of the Capitals’ seven-game series against the Hurricanes. the team had 12 players record two or more points. Through just two games, Boston has nine.

Additionally, the Bruins’ ability to dominate the special teams battle has been extremely impactful, and Game 2 demonstrated just how influential it can be. Boston’s special teams units were perfect, scoring two power play goals on two opportunities, while allowing zero goals on four penalty killing missions.

The goaltender conundrum the Bruins have handed the Canes doesn’t make matters any easier, either. Petr Mrazek’s poor play since returning from injury have some clamoring for the insertion of steady backup netminder Curtis McElhinney.

However, for as well as the Bruins are playing currently, the Hurricanes have proven that they are borderline unstoppable at PNC Arena. The squad boasts the best shot share of any team at 5v5 when playing at home this postseason. That is aided by the fact that they also own the best even strength home shooting percentage of the teams remaining in the playoffs. Combine that offensive success with a near unbeatable .958 home save percentage out of their goaltending duo, and you get a ridiculously tough challenge as an opposing team, hence why this team has already overcome an 0-2 series deficit and is unbeaten at home in the playoffs.

So, while Carolina has been a handful to deal with when playing in the City of Oaks, there is no questioning that they have yet to play a team playing as well as the Bruins this postseason, and that is why Boston should feel good about their prospects going into Game 3.