Game 1 is in the books and even though it didn’t go the Bruins’ way, there’s no need to panic.
Boston fell 5-1 to the Hurricanes on Monday night at PNC Arena. Carolina now has a 1-0 lead in the first-round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Here are four takeaways from the Bruins’ Game 1 loss:
The power play continued to struggle
We don’t need to relive the abysmal stretch the Bruins went through on the power play toward the end of the regular season, but they were unable to get anything going on the man advantage Monday night. Boston went 0-for-3 in its opportunities against Carolina as it continued to find a groove. Head coach Bruce Cassidy still believes the power play can be a “weapon,” but the Bruins will need to figure that out ahead of Game 2.
“I thought the first couple we did get some looks. … It’s been a challenge for us the last month on the power play. Those guys have to take a little bit more ownership of it,” Cassidy told reporters after the game, per team-provided video. “Those are our top guys, so hopefully they’ll be better at it Wednesday because we do have to get some life from it.
“Just because (the Hurricanes are) the best PK doesn’t mean we can’t score on it. We’ve done it in years past in the playoffs. So, certainly can be a weapon if we get it going.”
Bruins couldn’t finish their chances
We’ve seen this so many times in the regular season that Boston would outshoot its opponent and lose the game. Such was the case Monday with the B’s putting up 36 shots on net opposed to the Hurricanes’ 25.
“For us, we always seem to outshoot teams, but what can kind of get away from us is getting people to the net and really making use of all those shots and creating second chances,” Taylor Hall, who scored the lone goal for the Bruins, said in a team-provided video.
Hall also hit the crossbar after his goal but the B’s still committed one too many passes during some attempts. If they want to tie this series, they’re going to need to finish these kinds of opportunities, especially against Carolina’s backup goalie.
Goaltending was fine
Linus Ullmark made his Stanley Cup playoffs debut and made some timely saves between the pipes, but some rebounds led to goals for Carolina. The Bruins goalie also didn’t receive a ton of help from his defense on some of the shots, but when it comes to the playoffs there isn’t a whole lot of room for error. Cassidy wouldn’t commit to Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman for Game 2, but if Ullmark does indeed start Wednesday, he may have a short leash.
“We’re not going to put anything on Ullmark,” Cassidy told reporters. “Whatever goalie is in there for us, you have to fight to find pucks in the series. Like I said, I’m not faulting our goaltender for this. We had some opportunities we need to finish as well like they did.”
No need to panic…yet
The Bruins kept pace with the Hurricanes when it came to speed and defense for most of the night, Carolina just finished its chances and took advantage of the juicy rebounds Ullmark gave up. Boston played with tempo and controlled the game after the first period. There still was a lot to like from the Bruins despite the loss, now they just need to not lose any momentum going into Game 2.