With the moms and mentors making the trip to Boston with the team, the Carolina Hurricanes faced the Bruins for the first time this season in a battle between two of the Eastern Conference's best. The Canes were left with a sour taste after dropping a 5-2 game to the Wild on Sunday night to end their six-game homestand. The Bruins entered the game on a hot streak, winning their last five games and earning points in their last nine.
With Andrei Svechnikov out for his second straight game, the lineup of skaters remained the same for the Canes. In the net, they turned to Spencer Martin, who the team claimed off waivers on Friday, to pick up a huge win in his team debut. For Boston, they countered with the reigning Vezina winner, Linus Ullmark, between the pipes. This game marked the front end of a back-to-back for both teams.
From the drop of the puck, this game was fast-paced and thrilling. Jalen Chatfield was called for an early penalty, which the Canes killed off. Seth Jarvis rang the post. Spencer Martin stuck out his left pad to rob the Bruins. The two sides went back and forth for the better part of 20 minutes. Eventually, the Canes earned their first power play of the game late in the period, and they struck gold. Martin Necas, who drew the penalty, snapped one from the left dot through a screen set by Stefan Noesen to get the Canes on the board just before the break.
The second period was all Carolina early. They started the period by peppering Linus Ullmark with everything they could. Brent Burns was inches away from extending the lead, ringing the crossbar. They would draw another penalty midway through the period as former Hurricane Morgan Geekie was called for tripping Martin Necas. This time, the first unit would find the back of the net. Charlie Coyle was doing a good job of tying up Teuvo Teravainen's stick, but Teravainen was able to get it loose enough to play the puck from between Coyle's skates and elevate it past Ullmark. Boston made a late push, but Spencer Martin kept them at bay to send the Canes into the third period up 2-0.
Boston used their late-period momentum to make the final stanza incredibly tense. The Bruins got on the board 90 seconds into the frame after Trent Frederic made a smart pass to Brad Marchand, who lifted it past a sprawling Spencer Martin to cut the lead in half. Less than six minutes later, Marchand would tie it. After Martin made a great initial save on Charlie Coyle, Marchand snuck the rebound through his pads to even the score.
If fans weren't already on edge, Dmitry Orlov took a holding penalty with 6:31 left, putting the Bruins on the power play for the fourth time with a chance to take a late lead. The kill dug in and got the job done, preventing Boston from getting much with their late man advantage. This appeared to set up another overtime clash between the two teams. However, the Canes clearly didn't want to delay their trip home. Teuvo Teravainen sprung Jordan Martinook on a breakaway, and he found just enough room under Linus Ullmark's pads to get the puck to sneak past the Vezina winner, giving the Canes a 3-2 lead with 2:27 left. The Bruins pushed hard to tie it, but the Canes managed to hold on, winning the game in regulation in front of their moms and mentors.
This was as close to a playoff-style game as we've seen this season, and I liked what I saw from the Carolina Hurricanes. While far from perfect, this was a gritty and chippy battle between two teams with a rich history and less-than-pleasant feelings toward one another. The big guys delivered. Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho had two points. Martin Necas scored for the third straight game. Seth Jarvis picked up an assist and negated an icing call to help melt time off the clock. The top defensive guys made some big plays in big moments. This is the recipe moving forward for the Hurricanes.
The Canes' special teams continue to be the driving force for their recent success. After a few rough games, the power play converted twice, getting big goals in the first and second periods to put the team in a great spot. The penalty kill held the Bruins to four shots on four power plays. They also got the huge stop late in the third period, allowing the game-winner to come to fruition. While the Canes didn't generate much at 5-on-5, Jordan Martinook's breakaway ended up being the difference.
While they won the game for those in the stands, it was also awesome to see the team rally around Spencer Martin in his team debut and help deliver a victory. Martin was especially sharp through 40 minutes, and while Boston beat him twice in the third period, he made a huge stop on David Pastrnak before the team turned the puck up ice and scored. One game won't tell us whether Martin is our savior in the net, but this was no doubt a cool moment to witness.
The team will head home to get ready for their first meeting of the season with the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. This will be the first time the two teams locked horns since the Canes eliminated the Devils in Game 5 of the 2nd Round. The Canes will finish their pre-All Star Break schedule against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night before stepping away to enjoy the break.