( Photo Credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images )

By: Joey Lizotte | Follow me @lizotte_joey

Ok, Bruins fans, let’s take a short breather and try to relax. As we all know, the Bruins are in a big 0-2 series hole with this powerhouse of a Hurricanes team, and the clock is beginning to tick on the 2021-2022 season. Let’s state the obvious facts. Besides the first ten minutes of each game one and two, the Canes have absolutely dominated the Bruins in every aspect. They have four solid lines that are outworking this Bruins team and seem to win almost every puck battle in all three zones.

On top of the horrible officiating, the Lindholm injury, the struggling offense, and everything, their fans are blowing the roof off of PNC Arena, and you can tell the Bruins are rattled. Despite all of the bad that has gone the Bruins way, that is all in the past, and this Bruins team can handle adversity very well with their leadership core. No one should be counting this team out as they know where they are and what they are doing. It is time we ship up to Boston.

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Game three: Must-haves

As the series takes a much-needed turn to TD Garden, there are many things this Bruins team can do to secure a vital game three win over the Canes. Let’s start from the net out; Jeremy Swayman. The 2022 NESN Seventh Player Award winner will make his playoff day view in game three, and I love the move. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong with Linus Ullmark’s game in the first two bouts with the Canes. He played very well behind a struggling Bruins offense.

The time has come to switch over to his partner in crime to provide a much-needed spark for the B’s. In order to get back into this series, the Bruins need that important save when they need it to start everything. I believe Swayman has the poise and confidence to spark this team and his teammates know that. Swayman finished his first full NHL season with a stat line of 41GP, 23-14, 3 shutouts, a save percentage of .914, and a GAA of 2.41.

Moving on to the Bruins defense. We all know the B’s number two defenseman, Hampus Lindholm, will not play in game three due to an injury from a heavy and high hit from Canes forward Andrei Svechnikov. I assume that Bruce Cassidy will activate Mike Reilly back into this Bruins lineup as his sort of ‘get up’ offensive game can boost the struggling offense as well.

I can see Reilly skating with either McAvoy and/or Carlo. I also would not mind if we got a look at Josh Brown in game three, as the Bruins need some size and toughness against the surge of the Canes. Defensively, the Bruins need to be smart with the puck in their own end. If you noticed, once you turn the puck over or take too long to get the puck out of the zone, a team like Carolina will make you pay almost every time.

Now to the offense. If the Bruins want to get back in this series, they need their top players to come out of the gate Friday night. Brad Marchand has been almost nonexistent this postseason, and you can tell he isn’t handling the puck well. He needs to come out firing on all cylinders and play his game. Hard on the puck, in the Canes’ faces and getting under their skin, and shooting the puck. David Pastrnak, who also does not look himself, needs to come out firing.

I would not be surprised to see the perfection line back together to get that spark. The B’s also need forwards Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, and Craig Smith to ignite the middle of the lineup. The fourth line of Nick Foligno, Tomas Nosek, and Curtis Lazar cannot be our only line generating the majority of our offense. No one knows who will start in goal for the Canes in game three, but if it is young rookie Pyotr Kochetkov, they need as many pucks on the net as possible.

Inch by inch. Game by game. See you Friday night, Boston! In my eyes, this is far from over.