Boston, MA – A historic evening at TD Garden quickly turned sour as the visiting Carolina Hurricanes throttled the Boston Bruins 7-1 in front of 17,850. The game was over in the first period after a “flat” start by the Bruins had them in a 5-1 hole after seventeen minutes of play.
The Bruins organization retired Willie O’Ree’s # 22 to the rafters pre-game. O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier 64 years ago when he skated for the Bruins in a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. O’Ree only netted 14 points in 45 career NHL games with the Bruins, but his impact on the game is far superior than statistics can measure.
Once the pomp and circumstance gave way to the game, the Hurricanes rained on the Bruins parade. Teuvo Teravainen put the Canes ahead 1-0 at 3:44 when he one-timed a Jaccob Slavin cross-ice, high-low pass past Tuukka Rask from the bottom of the left circle. The goal was Teravainen’s eleventh of the year.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi added to the Carolina lead at 6:03 when he corralled a rebound in front of Rask and quickly swung a shot past the outstretched leg of his countrymen to make it 2-0. Kotaniemi was alone behind the Bruins defenders to promptly bury his eighth season.
Andrei Svechnikov earned an Interference call to put the Bruins on the game’s first power-play at 9:48. Patrice Bergeron pulled a goal back for the home team when he redirected a David Pastrnak shot past Frederik Andersen at 11:13. That would be the only blemish on Andersen’s night as he stopped 33 shots in total.
“It was very disappointing the way we played,” said Bergeron. “The way we showed up, the way we started the game. It was flat, and it stayed flat the whole game. Everyone at the same time didn’t have their game, and nothing was working. We’ve got to be better, and we’ve got to move on to Washington.”
The joy was short-lived as Kotkaniemi tipped a Slavin slapshot past Rask only thirteen seconds later, giving the Canes a commanding 3-1 lead with 8:34 left to play n the first period. Slavin and Derek Stepan assisted Kotkaniemi’s second of the game.
Seth Jarvis added to the Canes lead at 16:01 when he beat Connor Clifton along the boards, cut in on Rask, and deposited the puck over the Bruins goalie. Jarvis’ seventh goal was unassisted.
Less than a minute later, Stepan buried a no-look pass from behind the Bruins goal by Justin Martinook past Rask (7 saves). Stepan’s fifth made it 5-1 Canes with 3:03 to go in the first.
Rask gave way to Linus Ullmark (20 saves) to start the second period in goal for the Bruins.
Compared to the first, the second period was a snooze fest. Three Hurricanes penalties helped pad the Bruins stats for the night, but the result stayed the same. Andersen turned away all 13 shots he faced in the middle frame while the Bruins showed some signs of life as the score remained 5-1 after two periods.
Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy had an Interference call at 1:13 of the third period. Carolina’s Slavin netted his second goal of the year with a snapshot from the top of the right circle at 3:05. Tony DeAngelo (3 assists) and Teravainen assisted in making it 6-1 Canes.
Svechnikov made it 7-1 at 7:48 when he swatted in a pass from Sebastian Aho as Aho wrapped around the Bruins net. Svechnikov’s 13th of the season was the one that finally drove most fans to the exit.
“We had nothing,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “They were clearly better than us in every area … We weren’t nearly good enough. We wouldn’t have been good enough against the worst team in the league tonight. We weren’t competitive.”
“I don’t think we did anything in front of Tuukka to help him tonight,” Cassidy added. “We would’ve needed an unbelievable effort from him to get any points tonight. That’s an unfair ask.”
It was just Rask’s second start of the year since returning to the team last week after off-season hip surgery. It was water under the bridge by the time he faced the media.
“Oh ya. It’s gone. Gone already,” said Rask when asked how long that type of game stays with him. “One thing you learn over the years, you’re never as bad or as good as you think, so you learn just to keep an even keel.”
“Trust the process; that’s what we have to do as a team and as an individual,” added Rask. “Keep plugging away tomorrow, and then keep going from there.”
The Bruins square off against the Washington Capitals on Thursday at TD Garden as the seven-game homestead continues. The Hurricanes will host the New York Rangers on Friday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.