Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)
RALEIGH, NC – They were simple adjustments – necessary ones to achieve success.
The Carolina Hurricanes pieced together an orchestral ensemble of puck possesson, passing, shooting and physical toughness and endurance throughout the lineup to control Game 5 to the tune of 5-1, posting a critical win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
Goaltender Antti Raanta earned the win, making 33 saves, with goals from Jacob Slavin, Tony DeAngelo, and two from Seth Jarvis eluding Bruins keeper Jeremy Swayman, while Vincent Trocheck ‘s empty-netter with 3:40 to go finalized the Canes taking a 3-2 series lead.
“ It was nice to see us get some some breaks,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind‘Amour said.
“See the puck go in the net – we had our opportunities. We had a solid two periods, and that put us in a comfortable spot. ”
Another trip to Boston on Thursday for Game 6 will afford the Canes the opportunity to eliminate the Bs and advance to the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.
But before then, Carolina will need to replicate their success from this night, but in the hostile confines of TD Garden.
A tall order as evidenced in back-to-back 4-2 and 5-2 losses there in Games 3 and 4, respectively.
Key to success – Roll four lines all game
Unlike during Games 3 and 4, Brind’Amour used all four lines throughout the entire 60 minutes.
Having the final change looked to help that as he made adjustments interchanging centers at various times, particularly during the first period.
Using every player up and down the lineup was critical.
“ I think it was solid,” Brind’Amour said of his team’s play.
“We got ahead there in the third. We kind of took a breath, they’re so good and they took advantage. but I think overall, it was pretty solid.”
Key to success – Take only necessary penalties
Three penalties were successfully killed off and allowed the Canes the ability to maximize 5-on-5 puck possession throughout the game.
Raanta noted his team’s improved discipline to minimize the number of extra-man opportunities afforded to the Bruins.
Serving nine penalties in Game 4 was costly.
“Yeah, we were talking about it obviously, before the game, and you know, I think it was more disciplined today for sure,” he said.
“And obviously, our power play was working. Special teams are the biggest thing in playoffs and you know, today we won that battle. We just have to keep it like that and get to Boston and make sure that we’re not going to sit in the box in there.”
Key to success – Penetrate and shoot inside the dots
Slavin’s second goal of the playoffs resulted after he came in off the right boards and released a low wrist shot from the face off dot to Swayman’s left.
The puck made it through the netminder’s pads, unable to square up in time while sliding across his crease.
Slavin’s fourth career playoff marker gave the Canes a 1-0 lead early in the first period.
Both of Jarvis’ goals, at even strength and on the power play, were earned around the crease, aka the ‘dirty area’, scoring them in the second and third periods, respectively and extending the Canes lead to 4-0 at the 3:31 mark of the third period..
Key to success – Carry the puck into O-zone
Rather than dump and chase, the Canes carried the puck across the Bruins blue line much more often and consistently.
As a result, they rarely allowed the Bruins the opportunity for quick transition out.
Carolina gave the puck away 17 times, but they took it back 22 times.
However, when they did get sloppy, handling the puck too long without passing it off quickly, defenseman Connor Clifton eventually snapped Raanta’s shutout bid, scoring Boston’s lone goal of the game midway through the third period.
Key to success – Maintain puck possession and control of the game
While his teammates gave him enough run support, Raanta was up to the task of supporting the effort.
What he saw was a complete effort in all three zones that allowed him to focus on his job.
“ It’s all about just going out there and battling,” Raanta said.
“It’s trying to be sharp with your movements, to try to get into places and be in a good balance when the shot is coming, and then follow the rebounds. And I think that’s kind of how the game went today.”
Notables: DeAngelo tallied three points (1g, 2a), including his first career playoff goal… Jarvis’ two goals gave him his first career playoff multi-goal game and his second multi-point game…Trocheck tallied three points (1g, 2a) for the first multi-assist game, second multi-point game (Game 1: 1g, 1a) and first three-point game of his playoff career… The Canes went 2-for-5 on the power play – now 4-for-27 (14.8%) on the man-advantage during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.