For the first time since 2013, the Bruins are advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
Boston put the finishing touches on the Eastern Conference Final at PNC Arena on Thursday, beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 in Game 4 to complete the sweep.
A pair of second-period goals gave the Bruins a nice cushion that they never came close to relinquishing. Patrice Bergeron had two goals in the win, while David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand (empty-netter) scored the others.
Tuukka Rask made 20 saves for the Bruins, while Curtis McElhinney turned away 18 shots for Carolina.
Here’s how it all went down:
BUSY, BUT SCORELESS, FIRST
Neither side scored in the first period, but it wasn’t for a lack of chances.
The main problem for the Bruins was that they overcomplicated things, giving up quality shot opportunities for passes on multiple occasions. That said, McElhinney also came up with some impressive saves, including this one on Brad Marchand.
Carolina ultimately won the first-period shots battle 13-11 and got two chances on the power play, while the Bruins had one.
TOP LINE GETS GOING
The Bruins’ first unit started heating up in the second period, and it resulted in them scoring the period’s only two goals.
The Hurricanes were whistled for too many men on the ice at 4:28 in the period, and the Bruins needed less than 20 seconds to cash in.
Marchand dashed into the attacking end with speed, then threw a puck toward the net. It met Pastrnak, who was crashed to the net from the middle of the zone, and the winger redirected it past McElhinney at 4:46.
It was the seventh goal of the playoffs for Pastrnak, and his first since Game 5 of the second round.
Shortly before the period was over the Bruins doubled their advantage.
Greg McKegg was penalized for interference after crashing into Rask, sending the Bruins to the power play once again.
Not long into that advantage, Bergeron gathered a loose puck in Boston’s offensive zone that had been poked away, then backhanded a pass to Pastrnak, who was a few feet from the near post. Pastrnak fed Bergeron right back, and the center completed the give-and-go with a one-timer to the far post at 18:34.
B’S PUT IT AWAY
The Bruins continued stifling the Hurricanes in the third period, and just beyond the midway point Bergeron provided the dagger.
Jaccob Slavin had the puck behind the net and was beginning to start the breakout, however his pass hit Bergeron’s skate and deflected across the slot to Pastrnak at the top of the circle. Pastrnak carried the puck toward the net before firing a pass over to Bergeron, who had a wide open net to bury Boston’s third goal.
With 2:17 left in regulation the Bruins put it away for good, with Marchand burying an empty-netter to up Boston’s lead to 4-0.
The B’s now will await the conclusion of the Western Conference Final between the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks. The Sharks currently lead that series 2-1, and the latest it possibly can go is next Thursday.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images