5 Reasons Why the Carolina Hurricanes Were Eliminated by the Boston Bruins
While the Carolina Hurricanes were technically the underdogs in their first-round matchup against the Boston Bruins, many believed, myself included, that the red-hot Hurricanes would steamroll the slumping Bruins. Yet the Bruins managed to extinguish the Hurricanes playoff push with relative ease, as they won the best-of-seven series in only five games. Let’s take a look at how a Bruins team that didn’t win any of their round-robin games beat the Hurricanes who I had making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final in Edmonton.
Jaroslav Halák Proves His Worth
Many thought that the Bruins’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup were slimming as their star-goaltender, and quite frankly the best goalie in the league right now, Tuukka Rask, opted out of the Toronto Bubble to be with his family just hours before Game 3.
It’s widely known that Jaroslav Halák could easily start on any NHL team, but he still had big skates to fill against a dynamic Carolina offense. Halák more than rose to the occasion as he only allowed 5 goals in the last 3 games of the series; moreover, Halák recorded a save percentage of .932. It’s very unlikely that Rask will return to the Toronto Bubble, but the NHL is close to allowing families in to watch the conference finals in Edmonton. That being said, it seems that the Bruins will have Halák in net for at least the next series after he proved he can start on any team this past week.
Svechnikov Taken Out of the Equation
Andre Svehcnikov who is infamous for his lacrosse style goals has become a key part of the Hurricanes offense. Svechnikov had 3 goals and 4 assists for Carolina in this postseason including 1 goal and 1 assist against the Bruins. Unfortunately for the Canes, Svechnikov went down with an injury to his right leg, probably his ankle.
The incident came in a battle for position in front of the Bruins’ goal between Svechnikov and Zdeno Chara late in the third period in Game 3. Svechnikov wouldn’t have played again in the Stanley Cup Playoffs even if Carolina advanced, as he expected to be off the ice until November. Svechnikov is easily one of Carolina’s best players and being without him could have easily been the Hurricanes’ downfall.
Carolina’s Special Teams Flop
During the regular season, the Hurricanes had some of the best special teams units in the NHL behind only the Oilers and Bruins. The Canes finished with the 8th best power play and 4th best penalty kill percentages in the league. Carolina’s special teams might have been great during the regular season, but they were awful against the Bruins in these playoffs.
The Canes had a penalty kill percentage of only 74% which would have finished last in the 2020 regular-season standings. Carolina had an even worse power play percentage as they converted on only 13% of power plays which would have finished last in the regular-season standings as well. It could be argued that the Hurricanes’ power play suffered without Svechnikov, but there is pretty much no excuse for having such a bad power play when you have players like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.
The Stars Come Out for Boston
The Bruins played very poorly in the round-robin stage because they could not seem, to get their top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak going. In their series against the Hurricanes, however, the Bruins’ first two lines played like they were shot out of a cannon. Out of Boston’s 15 goals in the 5-game series, the Bruins’ top two lines scored 11 goals, 6 of which were scored by the Bergeron line.
Two of the best performances across the entire 2020 NHL postseason came from Brad Marchand who had 3 goals and 5 assists and David Krejci who had 3 goals and 6 assists in this series. The Bruins’ stars carried them to a 2020 President’s Trophy, and they certainly couldn’t be stopped by the Hurricanes.
The Bounce of the Puck
Hockey is first and foremost a game of momentum, but sometimes luck can be a major factor as one bounce of the puck can flip a whole game on its head. The Bruins probably had the advantage over the Hurricanes skill-wise, but each game was close. None of the five games were decided by more than 2 goals, and four of them were decided by only one goal including a double-overtime Game 1.
The Hurricanes played a good series against the Bruins, but things just didn’t go their way. This Hurricanes team has grown so much over the past couple of years, and this is loss is merely a bump in the road. They may have been knocked out of the playoffs by the Bruins again this year, but this Hurricanes team will absolutely come back strong next season.
Pierson Scheinberg is a student who lives in California, and attends the College Preparatory School. Pierson lived in Baltimore, Maryland until August 2017 when he moved to the Bay Area. Pierson is an avid golfer who enjoys watching all sports. He is a writer and sports analyst for At the Buzzer.