Bruins survive Hurricanes in Game 3, within one game of Stanley Cup finals

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RALEIGH NC. – MAY 14: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins congratulates Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins on the win as the Bruins take on the Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Garden on May 14, 2019 in Raleigh, NC. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

RALEIGH, N.C. — For all the talk of creating one, the Bruins certainly seemed to weather the storm in North Carolina.

After the Hurricanes turned the pressure up all the way to open the contest Tuesday night, the Bruins struck twice in quick succession in the second period and survived another late push in the third to take Game 3, 2-1, for a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to bring the Bruins within one game of a sweep and a spot in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 2013. Chris Wagner and Brad Marchand had the goals.

“Keeping the puck out of the net gives us a chance to regroup after the first intermission,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Find our game, I don’t think we ever really had a chance to get going. Penalty here, penalty there, another penalty, another penalty. It takes guys out of their rhythm, so you need your goaltender there or your penalty kill to step up, and it was more he was our best penalty killer.”

The win also was the Bruins’ sixth in a row, the first time they’ve accomplished that in the postseason since 1978.

The Hurricanes played nearly six minutes of the first period on some form of man-advantage, and that was even with captain Justin Williams committing three penalties.

Less than a minute into the game, Brandon Carlo went off for a delay of game, but even before that, Teuvo Teravainen missed a wide-open look that would have blown the roof off PNC Arena early. Rask made 20 saves in the first period alone, including a flurry on the power play when the Hurricanes inexplicably didn’t find the back of the net.

“I didn’t like the way we played there,” Cassidy said. “We talked about how we wanted to counter an assertive team, aggressive team. We had a situation, our winger left the zone. If he’s there to battle for the puck and win the battle, all of a sudden you’re attacking. You can counterpunch or you can sit back. … We were trying to attack and counter their aggressiveness.”

Carolina out-chanced the Bruins by a bunch, but the scoreless first period gave a clean slate for the rest of the game.

“I guess the moral of the story is we got through the first period tonight, however you want to describe it,” Cassidy said. “And off we went after that. I thought the second period dictated the pace of play, then all of a sudden it’s a hockey game.”

The second period might as well have been a different game altogether.

The B’s didn’t score on their carryover power play from the end of the first, but moments later — just 1:11 into the frame — Wagner popped in a pass from Joakim Nordstrom on the doorstep to make it 1-0.

The Bruins doubled their lead on the power play, continuing their special teams onslaught. Marchand dangled from the top of the slot before sliding toward the hashmarks and backhanding a shot past Game 3 starter Curtis McElhinney for the 2-0 lead with 13:32 left in the second.

As has been the case all season, the Hurricanes did not go quietly.

Calvin de Haan beat Rask five-hole with 6:08 to go in the middle frame to give Carolina some life.

The Bruins went back to the power play 5:16 into the third, and it looked like Torey Krug blasted in their third goal of the night. The call initially was no-goal on the ice, with Jake DeBrusk having made incidental contact with McElhinney.

Cassidy challenged the ruling, but the officials decided quickly it would remain no goal.

Carolina promptly went to its own power play, but Rask stonewalled the home team once again, and he was forced to face the Hurricanes’ full wrath throughout the third.

The Hurricanes pulled McElhinney with 2:05 left in and pressured the Bruins, but Rask turned aside shot after shot to secure the win.

“I don’t think we had any zone time in the first period,” Krug said. “So after the first it was like, catch your breath and let’s go to work.”

Game 4 is Thursday night in Raleigh, where the Bruins will go for their first sweep since they rolled past the Penguins in 2013 to reach the Cup finals.

“Lot of things we can do better,” Patrice Bergeron said. “That being said, it was a good road win, tomorrow watch the video. Enjoy this tonight, but get back at it tomorrow and be ready for Game 4.”

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