Pastrnak and Marchand Help Boston Get Off to a Quick Start as They Hold off the Canes

Boston's stars run roughshod over the Hurricanes in the first period before shutting things down defensively to take a 4-1 win in Raleigh.
Boston Bruins v Carolina Hurricanes
Boston Bruins v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

It had been a minute since the Carolina Hurricanes were in action, last playing on Saturday night in Montreal. The Canes' 3-0 win over the Canadiens gave them back-to-back shutouts after doing the same to Detroit just a few days earlier. With a prolonged break before beginning their April slate, the Canes looked to come back in a big way against the Boston Bruins.

Frederik Andersen took the net for the Hurricanes following his perfect March, winning all seven of his starts, including the shutout victory over the Red Wings. Jesper Fast returned to the lineup after a six-game absence, with Jesperi Kotkaniemi serving as the additional extra for the forwards. The Bruins sent out Jeremy Swayman to face the Canes.

If you were hoping the break would help the Hurricanes come back revitalized and ready to face this massive test, the start to this game was hard to watch. Brad Marchand buried a breakaway after a beautiful stretch pass from former Hurricane Morgan Geekie. Marchand clearly made contact to prevent Frederik Andersen from making the save on a potential rebound, but the Canes opted not to challenge it. It was probably a good decision, with Brent Burns looking to be the reason for Marchand losing his edge.

A defensive breakdown proved to be costly from the Hurricanes 5:30 later, allowing one of the most lethal snipers in the league a free path to the net. No one picked up David Pastrnak as he lifted the puck over Frederik Andersen and into the top of the net to double Boston's lead. Pastrnak would strike again, setting up Danton Heinen for a goal just over three minutes later to make it 3-0.

The Hurricanes' best chance of the first period came off the stick of Jordan Staal. While Jeremy Swayman will get credit for a save, Staal shot the puck right into the Bruins' goalie with a wide-open cage. Jack Drury tried to spark some life into his team by dropping the gloves with John Beecher late in the period, earning a decisive victory to hype the crowd. It was the only victory for the Canes in the period, as they entered the intermission down by three goals.

The penalty kill took center stage in the second period, with the Bruins trying to add to their lead. The kill helped shut down a Boston power play after a very bad tripping call to Sebastian before allowing just one shot to the Bruins during a four-minute power play to turn the tides in their favor. This would allow the Hurricanes to get back into the game as they searched for their first goal.

Boston would take consecutive penalties, giving the Canes nearly two full minutes of a 5-on-3 to try and get on the board. It took a lot of work, but Jake Guentzel was eventually able to break through. Along with some help from Stefan Noesen, Guentzel popped a rebound into the net during the two-man advantage to break the shutout. They were unable to cut into the lead more in the final few minutes of the period, but the one goal felt like a step in the right direction heading into the third.

Unfortunately, there wouldn't be a spectacular comeback for the Hurricanes. The Bruins gave the Canes a taste of their own medicine for 20 minutes, clogging up the neutral zone and preventing the Canes from getting much going. In fact, the Bruins outshot Carolina in a third period that they were winning in. Hampus Lindholm iced the game for good with the empty-net marker as the Bruins took a decisive 4-1 victory in Raleigh.

Outside of a very bad ten minutes defensively, this wasn't a terrible game from the Hurricanes. The problem is that the ten-minute segment in the first period existed, and it cost them the game. Frederik Andersen got no help from the guys in front of him. The goal by David Pastrnak was especially egregious. There's no excuse for one of the best scorers in the league to be left alone in the offensive zone.

The only area of the game that felt like it was definitively in the Canes' favor was special teams. The league's best penalty kill went 4-for-4, allowing just three shots. The power play scored the only goal for the Hurricanes, with the second unit getting credit for the marker. The Canes' best period was the second, which correlates with their special teams answering the bell to keep them alive in this one.

This was one of the few games since the trade deadline that the top line of Jake Guentzel, Sebastian Aho, and Seth Jarvis was outplayed by the line they were matched up against. They drew David Pastrnak, Pavel Zacha, and Danton Heinen. Guentzel still had plenty of chances, leading the way with six shots, and he scored the lone goal for Carolina. While Aho made a few good passes to set up chances, he and Jarvis were a little too quiet.

The turnaround is going to be quick for the Hurricanes, as they welcome the Washington Capitals to Raleigh on Friday night to complete the final back-to-back of the season. Washington was also in action on Thursday, losing 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at home. The Canes will play their final home game of the season on Sunday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets before a four-game road trip to complete the first 82 games.