The Boston Bruins showed that they can excel without all of their top players. Now the Carolina Hurricanes might need to demonstrate the same type of response to their latest misfortune.
The Hurricanes were shaken by seeing young standout Andrei Svechnikov leave the ice with an injury Saturday in their 3-1 loss in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference playoff series. But with the Bruins up two games to one and Game 4 set for Monday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, there is no time to dwell.
“It’s always about the next game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour told reporters.
Boston had to deal with their own roster change before Game 3 after goaltender Tuukka Rask opted to skip the remainder of the postseason because of personal reasons.
The Bruins, though, didn’t skip a beat with Jaroslav Halak notching 29 saves in the win.
“The issue for us is that Jaro hasn’t played a lot (since the season resumed),” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said of Halak. “… Jaro is a popular guy in the room. Guys want to play for him.”
The Bruins, who had the best record in the NHL’s regular season, are trying to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the second year in a row. They don’t want the goalie shakeup to cause a detour.
Cassidy said the Bruins can maintain a positive outlook even with Rask having departed. Halak is capable of coming to the forefront.
“Now it could be his turn to have a nice run,” Cassidy said.
Svechnikov’s departure came with 4:38 remaining in the third period. The 20-year-old right winger’s injury to his right leg appeared to be potentially severe as he was helped off the ice after tangling with Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
“That’s all that’s going through my head,” Brind’Amour said of concern for Svechnikov. “I hate it for him. … It didn’t look very good, very awkward.”
Svechnikov has a team-high four goals this postseason.
Carolina center Sebastian Aho was without a point for the first time this postseason in Game 3, which marked the first game the Hurricanes didn’t score at least three goals in this month’s playoffs.
With Rask’s news, nearly overshadowed was that Boston also was without right winger David Pastrnak, who missed his second game in a row with an undisclosed ailment. He co-led the NHL with 48 regular-season goals.
So at both ends of the ice, it’s about staying the course for the Bruins.
“The message is we’re not going to change the way we play no matter who’s in the net,” Cassidy said.
The Bruins seemed to have the right approach upon learning of Rask’s decision.
“The whole team has to pull a little more,” Boston center Charlie Coyle said.
Halak, 35, isn’t a postseason newcomer, though he was the backup in four consecutive games prior to Saturday. He has appeared in 32 NHL playoff games, ringing up 14 victories.
“He’s a proven goalie,” Chara said.
The Hurricanes had a choppy performance and they seem determined to make improvements.
“We’ve got a lot more to give, so we’d better show up,” right winger Justin Williams said.
Boston held a 39-30 edge in shots in Game 3. It was the third game in a row that the Hurricanes failed to exceed the 30-shot mark.
“If you’re not sharp, it’s going to look that way,” Brind’Amour said.
–Field Level Media