Brad Marchand Fires Bruins to 3-0 Series Lead in Game 3 Win vs. Hurricanes

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RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 14: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal on Curtis McElhinney #35 of the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 14, 2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins gritted out a 2-1 Game 3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night at PNC Arena and are now one game away from the Stanley Cup Final while nursing a six-game winning streak.

The Hurricanes came out firing in the first period, leading the Bruins 20-6 in shots on goal, but weren’t able to capitalize. The Bruins opened the scoring early in the second period as their fourth-line made the difference, which has been the case all postseason, when Chris Wagner deflected a shot from Joakim Nordstrom into the net.

Boston doubled up when Brad Marchand scored on the power play five minutes later. By the time Calvin de Haan got Carolina on the board, the Bruins had built what proved to be an insurmountable lead.

Heading into Game 3, much was made about who would start at goaltender for the Hurricanes. Curtis McElhinney was tapped to replace the struggling Petr Mrazek, who allowed 11 goals through the first two games of the series.

However, the impenetrable play of Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask ended up definitive in Game 3 as he saved 35 of the 36 pucks shot his way. 

Just when the Hurricanes felt perhaps they had momentum to sneak one by Rask, the Bruins fourth line was there to dispel any notion of hope, especially when Wagner blocked the shot of Justin Faulk with close to five minutes left in regulation. 

While Boston blew the Hurricanes out in Games 1 and 2—5-2 and 6-2, respectively—a close Game 3 loss is actually the most discouraging of them all for Carolina.

McElhinney posted a .935 save percentage and did what he was asked to do relative to the performance Carolina was getting from Mrazek.

Carolina had four power-play opportunities and netted nothing, while Boston went 2-for-2 on the power play. And actually, the Hurricanes had plenty of chances all game long that very well might have gotten through against any goaltender other than Rask.

Above all, the Hurricanes were at home, where they hadn’t lost all postseason, and none of those things changed the result.

Entering Game 3, the Hurricanes were in a familiar position heading back to their home ice down 2-0; that was the case in their first-round series against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, but in that series, the Hurricanes surged to a 5-0 Game 3 win to turn things around. 

In the same situation against Boston, Carolina walks away having lost three games in a row for the first time since December and now faces an even more disconcerting fact: The factors that have consistently won games for the Bruins aren’t wavering, and the adjustments the Hurricanes tried aren’t working.

Of the four teams remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins are the most recent Cup winners, having topped the league in 2011. The Hurricanes won their lone Cup in 2006, while neither the St. Louis Blues nor San Jose Sharks have won a championship. 

Overpowering the Hurricanes in every facet shows why Boston should be favorited to hoist Lord Stanley again. 

What’s Next?

Boston can close out the series in Game 4 Thursday at PNC Arena, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

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