The Boston Bruins finally unleashed the high-powered nature of their attack and find themselves on the cusp of advancing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Bruins will look to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference’s second round on Wednesday when they play Game 5 of their best-of-seven series versus the Carolina Hurricanes in Toronto. Boston owns a 3-1 lead in the series.
“We have a ton of character in our room,” Bruins left winger Brad Marchand said. “We always say it’s a process. We continue to impose our will.”
The Bruins scored four goals in a 6-minute, 51-second span of the third period Monday night to erase a two-goal deficit and secure a 4-3 victory.
“We didn’t have an answer,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’ve got to learn from that. The lack of push back, I haven’t seen from this team. … We’ve got to pick the pieces up. We’ve got a proud group in there and I’m sure they’ll bounce back.”
If Carolina staves off elimination, Game 6 follows Thursday without an off day in between.
“You have to be able to create your own energy on the bench,” Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. “To see so many guys step up and make so many plays when it really mattered (was great).”
Boston has sputtered at times in finishing at the offensive end in the series. During its third-period frenzy, that was no longer an issue.
“It’s the playoffs, you know they’re going to come,” Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook said. “They don’t give you much. You’re not going to run and gun with this team.”
The Bruins have been without injured scoring leader David Pastrnak since he played in the series opener.
Carolina has concerns about captain Jordan Staal, who exited during Boston’s third-period burst Monday night after absorbing an upper-body hit from McAvoy.
The Bruins held a 16-2 edge in shots in the third period.
“You need to be proactive offensively, and it worked out in our favor,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.
The Hurricanes won’t get forward Andrei Svechnikov after he was injured late in Game 3. Svechnikov also missed time in last year’s first-round series, although Carolina rallied to upset the Washington Capitals in seven games.
“It’s not just one guy who takes his spot, it has to be all of us,” Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho said.
Boston has won both games since goalie Tuukka Rask opted to leave the team for personal reasons. Jaroslav Halak has filled in for the former Vezina Trophy recipient.
“They still have a great goalie out there,” Aho said.
Carolina has rotated goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer in the series, so it would be the former’s turn if that sequence continues.
“All you say is they have to win four,” Hurricanes right winger Justin Williams said of the Bruins. “Right now, we don’t have any leeway. … It ain’t over yet and we’re going to give it our best.”
Three games in the series have been decided by one goal, and the other was Boston’s 3-1 victory in Game 3 on Saturday. The two-goal margin came as a result of a late empty-net tally.
–Field Level Media