Patrice Bergeron Scores as Bruins Defeat Hurricanes in Series-Clinching Game 5August 19, 2020
The Boston Bruins are moving on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Wednesday's Game 5 to win the series 4-1.
It's the third straight year Boston has advanced past the first round and continues the club's quest to avenge a Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. After a four-goal third period comeback in Game 4, the Bruins finished off the Canes after trailing 1-0 until late in the second period.
In his third game since taking over for Tuukka Rask in net, Jaroslav Halak recorded 23 saves in his best outing yet.
Boston will await the winner between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals, who face off in their own Game 5 on Thursday. The Hurricanes will exit the NHL bubble in Toronto, Ontario and head home after an 81-point season that ended just a bit too soon.
David Krejci, C, Boston Bruins: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 SOG
David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins: 2 assists, 5 SOG
Jaroslav Halak, G, Boston Bruins: 23 saves
Haydn Fleury, D, Carolina Hurricanes: 1 goal, 3 Blocks, 1 Hit, 13:29 TOI
Halak Heating Up
Halak entered Game 3 under intense circumstances beyond his control.
After Rask opted out of the remainder of the tournament to rejoin his family, the veteran backup was asked to replace a Vezina Trophy finalist (Goalie of the Year), stifle one of the most electric offenses in the league and do it for a team that entered the restart as the prohibitive Stanley Cup favorite.
Boston responded by winning three straight games and closing out its opening-round series without putting too much stress on the goalie.
And yet it's already impossible to overstate how much Halak has added to the Bruins.
Rask is one of the best goalies in the world. Halak helped his teammates avoid any drop-off in play. In Game 5, especially, Halak turned aside 23 shots after allowing three goals on 19 shots in Game 4.
It was the bounce-back game both he and the Bruins needed and helped relieve pressure on an offense that was forced to pick up the slack in Game 4. Halak stoned all six shots he faced in the third period and moved his postseason marks to a 91.2 save percentage and 2.29 goals against average.
For a Boston team that scored an average of 2.43 goals per game in the regular season, it's a margin that should allow the Bruins to remain a Cup favorite moving forward.
Canes' Bad Bounce
Carolina had numerous opportunities to extend a 1-0 lead in the second period.
The Canes had 10 shots on net during the frame—the most during any period—and earned a power play only 1:49 after the first intermission.
Which makes it worse that the club is heading home because of a horrid bounce just before the period ended.
Four minutes after David Krejci scored an equalizer, Patrice Bergeron chased after a puck in the corner, threw it on net from behind the goal line and watched it deflect in off Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek. That both goals came on Boston power plays gave Carolina plenty of reason to feel regret.
That Bergeron's came with four seconds left in the period and would stand as the game-winner made it even worse.
David Pastrnak tallied the primary assist on both after missing Game 4 with an undisclosed injury. All of it added to a growing number of "what ifs" for a Canes team that remained one of the most entertaining clubs all season and seemed to have a path to the Cup during the NHL's restart.
Boston will need to hang on a bit longer before learning when it will play next. The NHL will reseed the clubs who advanced to Round 2. So far only two Eastern Conference series have been completed with the Tampa Bay Lightning defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games.