RALEIGH, North Carolina –The Bruins are on the verge of being eliminated after a 5-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night in Game 5 of their first-round series at the PNC Arena. Here are some news and notes from the setback that put Boston in a 3-2 series hole:
A hard road
Boston once again got off to a good start in the opening minutes of the game, but for the fifth game in a row they gave up the opening goal when Jaccob Slavin scored from the left of Jeremy Swayman at 6:11 of the first period. Tony DeAngelo doubled Carolina’s lead on the power play with 7:43 left in the first quarter and the Bruins trailed by two after 20 minutes, a deficit that grew to four early in the third period after two goals from Seth Jarvis.
“Well, we’re facing elimination,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That’s what worries me the most. [Patrice] Bergeron’s line had several good chances [early on]. Again, three times in this building and we were the better team in the first six, seven minutes and then they had a chance and it found its way in and it gives them a lot of juice. So this part was good, but not enough.
“I don’t know if across the lineup – we’re going to need a bit more, if it’s about working hard to keep the puck out of the net, which we have done in Boston, much better blocked shots, finish checks so guys can’t join the rush, sort covers quickly. So first base shouldn’t happen if we’re on our toes defensively as well. So it’s about me. We have to bring some guys forward…but it’s also the time of year when that inner drive comes out and that’s what we’re looking for.”
The home team has now won all five games in the series with the Hurricanes taking command at the PNC Arena beating Boston, 15-4, in all three games in Raleigh. Carolina is yet to trail at home in the series.
“It’s a tough building to play in,” said Brad Merchant. “They feed off a lot of the emotion they get from the crowd. They love playing here, you can see that how they are with the fans and everything. You can see they love playing in this building, they feed of that the energy and they have very good clashes at home.
“They’re a good team. You can’t discredit them. They play extremely hard, they play fast. We knew it was going to be a tough series. They’re a great team. To give them some credit.”
On the other hand, the Bruins outscored the Hurricanes, 9-4, at TD Garden in their two wins, a trend the Black & Gold hopes to continue Thursday night.
“Well, so far it’s been a circuit series, so we’d like to continue for now,” Cassidy said. “The Garden have been good to us in this series so I think our guys will obviously be motivated. They have to be motivated to play because if we don’t play well it’s over. So there’s that, everything “First. Secondly, as I said, we played very well there in games 3 and 4, so it will be good for us, just like it was good for them.”
Video: BOS recap: Bruins drop Game 5 to Hurricanes, 5-1
The return of McAvoy
The Bruins received all the surprise before the game with the news that Charlie McAvoy would arrive from Boston after approving the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. The Blue Liner, who was placed in protocol on Sunday morning and missed out on the B’s Game 4 win, did not travel with the club to Raleigh on Monday and was ruled out by Cassidy after Tuesday morning’s practice.
But Cassidy said he found out around noon that McAvoy had been cleared and would travel to Carolina and be available for Game 5.
“Well, I can tell you for the most part, the medical team, our doctors tell me he’s going into protocol and then they tell me today he’s coming out around, I don’t know, the time lunch,” Cassidy said. “He’s going to get on a private plane and he’s going to be available because he’s been cleared. Whatever happened in the meantime, I haven’t even looked into it because I don’t know anything about the protocols. So that’s all I know.
“We planned to play without him. It’s a nice surprise. He was taken out of protocol to bring him into the line-up. You could see he was missing some time, he wasn’t 100% , but he gave what he had and should be better in Game 6.”
McAvoy respectfully declined to answer questions about the logistics surrounding his passage through COVID-19 protocol, but said he had experienced symptoms. The blue liner played a team-best 25:14 with four hits, three blocks and two shots on goal.
“I got sick,” McAvoy said. “I went through it and came out the other side and here we are now…I tried to show up and do my best,” McAvoy said. “I just tried to give it everything I had tonight…a little tired, but I just worked on it. On the other side now. Looking forward to feeling better every day.”
Hard puck chance
Cassidy wouldn’t confirm whether or not Swayman would be back between the pipes for Game 6 Thursday night at TD Garden, saying it would be something the coaching staff would discuss in more detail on Wednesday. The Boston bench boss added that he was “comfortable” with Swayman’s play, noting he thought the goaltender had a “tough puck chance” in Game 5, which included a deflection on Carolina’s second goal midway through the first and an own goal on the Hurricanes’ third count when a Brandon Carlo attempt to clear ricocheted off Jake DeBrusk and by Swayman to extend Boston’s deficit to 3-0 late in the second.
“I think the second goal goes to Charlie [McAvoy], it’s a tough screen,” Cassidy said. “The first is what we’re talking about, timely backups. I mean, they had a few early on. We needed this one. I think the one we shot our own guy…so he had a bit of bad luck, but he gave us a chance after that.
“There was a period where we weren’t very good in front of him – he mishandled some pucks…he made timely saves to give us a chance to stay. So I’m definitely not putting that on Jeremy. We need to finish a bit better.When we get our chances early.It’s always a problem for us.