The Hurricanes gave up just five goals total to the Islanders in the second round. It took just one game for Carolina to relinquish the same amount against Boston, with the Bruins taking Game 1, 5–2.
Carolina started the third period with a 2–1 lead and control of the game, but it took just 28 seconds for things to change, with the Bruins scoring two quick power-play goals to start a four-goal period to pull away with the win. The man advantage wasn’t always advantageous for Boston in the second round, giving up numerous shorthanded chances to the Blue Jackets, but the Bruins seemed to tap into their dangerous power play they held during the regular season for Game 1.
Boston’s Big 3 started the game with some jump, but it was Steven Kampfer who struck first to give Boston an early lead. Kampfer was playing just his second game of the postseason, replacing the suspended Charlie McAvoy. Carolina evened things up quickly, however, with Sebastian Aho deflecting a shot from Andrei Svechnikov just three seconds into a power play. Zdeno Chara took a shot to the ankle while killing a penalty later in the period and went to the locker room, but returned to the bench as the puck was being dropped to start the middle frame.
Greg McKegg took the lead for Hurricanes midway through the second when he went to the net hard and his shot trickled through Tuukka Rask. McKegg was pushed into Rask by Kempfer and the net was dislodged, but the puck crossed the goal line before any contact was made. Carolina finished the period with a 25–18 shot advantage. But things quickly unraveled for Carolina in the final period.
Less than a minute into the third, Jordan Staal was called for boarding Chris Wagner, a hit he seemed to immediately regret. Marcus Johansson, who was already having an impressive game, tied things up on the ensuing power play, finding a rebound that he lifted up and over Petr Mrazek’s pad. Then things got a little weird. When it looked like Sean Kuraly was going to the box for a big, open-ice hit on Svechnikov, Dougie Hamilton was penalized for roughing behind the play and the Bruins went back on the power play. Patrice Bergeron scored 13 seconds into the man advantage to put the Bruins ahead. Hamilton was penalized again a few minutes later, this time for interference and the former Bruin didn’t think either call should have been a penalty.
Rod Brind’Amour pulled Mrazek with 2:38 left and Boston scored an empty-netter quickly after. Wagner buried another 11 seconds later to seal the win.
Carolina had a couple of solid periods showing its fast-paced style and essentially suffocated any opportunity for the Bruins throughout the second period. Mrazek made his return to the net for the first time since Game 2 against the Islanders when he left with a groin injury. But the Bruins clicked into their own game when given big opportunities in the third to run away with it. Things likely won’t be any easier for the Hurricanes once McAvoy, who has had a stellar postseason, returns for Game 2 on Sunday.