By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Following a Game Three victory, the Boston Bruins enter Monday night’s Game Four with a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup. Charlie Coyle scored a goal and an assist while Sean Kuraly scored the eventual game-winning tally in Saturday’s contest.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Carolina Hurricanes: (4-2-0)

Away: Boston Bruins (2-4-0)

Bruins’ Last Game: 3-1 win in Game 3

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forward David Pastrnak remains out of the lineup while Anders Bjork will get the bid on the top line with Marchand and Bergeron.

First Period:

Today’s game started early with a penalty on the Carolina Hurricanes as Ryan Dzingel gets his stick up high on Connor Clifton and the Bruins head to the power-play less than two minutes in. Even with four shots on goal, the Bruins cannot capitalize on the chance and we return to five-on-five.

Just about three minutes afterward, Jack Studnicka is whistled down on a slashing minor on Brady Skjei and will go on the penalty-kill for the first time. This man-advantage is a huge opportunity for the Hurricanes as an early kill and a successful power-play for the game’s opening goal could give them massive momentum. With that said, the Bruins looked excellent shorthanded, killing off Studnicka’s penalty – allowing zero shots on Halak.

Nearly ten minutes into the game, Justin Williams recovers the puck at the top of the circle after a tough board battle by his teammates and takes a shot. The seeing-eye shot finds its way under the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak and Carolina takes a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game.

Following the goal, the Canes put on a lot more pressure in Boston’s defensive zone. A lot of heavy forecheck and making plays around the perimeter of the zone. Justin Williams and Ryan Dzingel are playing well and forcing the Bruins to clear the puck out of the zone. Great work to control any breakout attempts.

At the TV timeout with approximately five minutes to go in the first period, the Bruins have not recorded a shot on goal in over twelve minutes. Carolina continues to shut down any breakout attempts and Boston continues to resort to dump-ins. However, the Hurricanes are also struggling to get great offensive opportunities as the shot counts remain 5-2 in favour of the Bruins.

One of Boston’s best chances comes with 4:50 to go as Charlie McAvoy airs a puck high into the air, landing perfectly for Chris Wagner who tries and a dangle and finds the puck to Par Lindholm. Lindholm nearly squeaks it five-hold past Reimer but is unable to, and the game stays at 1-0.

In the final minutes of the frame, the Canes find more shots towards the net, and with some crease battles in front of Halak, nearly bury a few of them but the 35-year-old netminder keeps them out.

The opening frame comes to an end there. A very neutral-zone heavy period for both teams, not many shots on goal. Carolina had a stronger period, but it was not a horrendous twenty minutes for Boston. Things to work on in the intermission, especially to hold off the Williams line, but again, not a terrible first period for the B’s.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 6 CAR: 7

Score: 1-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Williams (1) Assists: Trocheck (2), Gardiner (1)

Second Period:

In the beginning stages to the middle regulation period, the Hurricanes keep some of the momentum that they built from the first, getting pucks in Boston’s zone and preventing any chances coming back the other way. The Bruins’ fourth line has been the best trio for the Black and Gold thus far and is the line that gets a few chances on James Reimer in the second.

Boston gets another great scoring opportunity a few minutes later as Brad Marchand intercepts a pass on the backcheck and immediately rushes the puck down the ice, making a couple nice moves to set up a partial 2-on-1 with Patrice Bergeron. Marchand feeds the puck across the crease for a Bergeron tap-in, but the pass hops over Bergeron’s stick and the chance disappears.

Boston gets easily the best chance to score all game so far as Anders Bjork shows off his great stick-handling and puck control in the Hurricanes zone, dancing around everyone before feeding it to Jack Studnicka who slides it across the crease to David Krejci. Krejci rips a shot off the post and attempts to get a rebound that doesn’t go in as well. In the meantime, the Canes take a hooking minor and Boston heads to their second power-play.

The Bruins controlled the entire man-advantage with numerous chances by David Krejci. Solid puck movement but just cannot find the back of the net. Not long after the failed power-play, Jordan Martinook skates along the wing and snipes one glove low on Halak – the same spot as the first goal, extending Carolina’s lead to two past the halfway mark of the frame. Not a great night for Jaro tonight.

Dougie Hamilton takes a point shot late in the period that gets deflected high by Martinook that once again beats Halak, but the on-ice officials rule it a high-stick immediately and the goal is waived off. This game remains 2-0 for Carolina.

With 22 seconds left to tick on the scoreboard, Dougie Hamilton takes a penalty on Jack Studnicka and the Bruins go to their third power-play of the night with a chance to cut the lead in half. Boston does get a few really solid chances including a pair from Bergeron in his infamous bumper spot on the ice, but Reimer makes the pad save on each one. Boston will start the third period with 1:38 of power-play time.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 17 CAR: 17

Score: 2-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Martinook (2) Assists: Aho (8)

Third Period:

Starting a fresh period on a limited power-play is a difficult thing to do and that was evident for Boston. No real chances and we quickly return to 5-on-5 early in the final regulation period.

Boston again continues to struggle to not only get into the Hurricanes’ zone but generate any chances whatsoever to strike for the first time in this game. Brad Marchand nearly buried one in a net-front battle but Reimer makes the pad stop while flat on his stomach. Boston’s offence is pretty dry tonight and large credit to Carolina’s defence for that.

Finally, a simple play leads to a goal. Jake DeBrusk slowly brings the puck towards the zone, making a sudden move to flip the puck past Haydn Fleury who gets caught turning the wrong way. Reimer comes way out of his crease to try and poke the puck first, but DeBrusk moves around him and puts it in the open cage. Bruins cut the lead to 2-1.

Just about halfway through, the Hurricanes attempt a breakout allowing Charlie McAvoy to land a monstrous hit on Jordan Staal – flattening him on the ice. Stall looked dizzy getting up and went right down the tunnel. McAvoy has laid some big hits this series but this one is no question the biggest so far.

Not long after that, the fourth line of the Bruins on another hard forecheck finds Nordstrom behind the net, feeding it to a hungry Connor Clifton who blasts a bomb past Reimer and just like that – we are tied.

The momentum in this hockey game has done a complete 180 as Boston is dominating play, is faster on the puck, and is forcing Carolina to play on their heels. As a result, Brad Marchand finds himself on a breakaway. With some slick hands and poise, Marchand buries a five-hole goal past Reimer to give Boston the lead.

Boston, not done there, keeps the heavy pressure all over Carolina. The Bruins are first to every single puck battle and every line is keeping the Hurricanes guessing. The DeBrusk-Krejci-Kase line that has looked so good all series long generates a gorgeous scoring play. Krejci, along the boards, passes it to Kase in the high slot. Wasting no time, Kase directs it to DeBrusk back door who makes a nice move and beats Reimer. 4-2 Boston.

Bruins keep the pressure going but as Carolina pulls their goalie for the extra man with just about 1:30 to go, Teuvo Teravainen shoots a backhander that somehow beats Halak five-hole and makes this a one-goal game. Carolina scores on their first shot of the third period, 18th of the game. Hurricanes, however, fail to add another and the Bruins win 4-3. Boston leads the series 3-1.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 CAR: 19

Final Score: 4-3 Bruins – BOS takes 3-1 series lead

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 2 Goals (GWG), 3 Shots, 16:07 TOI

2nd Star: BOS D Connor Clifton – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Hits

3rd Star: BOS F Ondrej Kase – 2 Assists, 2 Hits, 14:29 TOI

The Boston Bruins take a 3-1 series lead over the Hurricanes and will have a chance to close out the series Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST.

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