By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins are back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2013. They resoundingly defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 on Thursday night to reach the final round of the playoffs for the third time since 2011. They will await the winner of the series between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues then face them for the right to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup early next month.
Check below for a recap of the game from our live updates, instant analysis, and highlights.
Recap: Third Period
-- 2:17: Brad Marchand has made it a 4-0 game with an empty net goal. That's all she wrote.
-- 9:28: Patrice Bergeron has scored his second goal of the game. Jaccob Slavin made a ghastly turnover in his own end off the skate of Bergeron and it bounces right to Pastrnak, who passed it down to Bergeron for an easy shot into a wide open net. It's 3-0 Bruins and you can pretty much count down the minutes until they advance to the final.
-- 12:21: Incredibly, no shots on goal so far this period. The Bruins will take that. They are inching ever closer to their first Stanley Cup Final berth since 2013 and the first appearance for David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo, among others.
Recap: Second Period
-- Second Period Thoughts: Another strong effort from the Hurricanes in their bid to solve Tuukka Rask and the Bruins - for about 18 minutes. Patrice Bergeron's back-breaking power play goal made Greg McKegg really pay for getting too much contact on Rask's head. The Bruins' top line is on a mission tonight. That's a great sign for a team that's almost certainly going to move on to the Stanley Cup Final, and it sure looks like they're doing it tonight. The B's defense hasn't been a mess without Zdeno Chara, either. They've had solid layers even when the Hurricanes were generating chances. But as most of the series has gone, the Bruins simply have too much at both ends for Carolina to be able to hang with them. This thing is looking like a sweep.
-- 1:26: The Bruins have made the Hurricanes pay for hitting Rask. Patrice Bergeron completes the give-and-go with Brad Marchand to make it 2-0 Bruins. A devastating goal for Carolina to allow with the second period winding down.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) May 17, 2019
-- 1:50: Carolina's Greg McKegg is going to the penalty box for interference. He swiped Tuukka Rask in the head as he skated by on a rush. The Bruins will get yet another power play opportunity to close out what's been an otherwise strong recent run for the Canes this period.
-- 3:08: The Hurricanes just had their best run of sustained pressure of the game so far. They didn't have many high-quality chances though. Perhaps too many extra passes. Nothing to show for it.
-- 9:53: The Bruins are now out-attempting the Hurricanes 34-31. The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line looks as explosive and threatening as it has all playoff right now. Water is finding its level in terms of the overall talent on that line compared to pretty much any three-forward combination the Hurricanes could throw at them.
-- 15:14: Bruins strike first. David Pastrnak streaks to the front of the net as Brad Marchand rushes down the left side, then centers it to Pastrnak for the tip-in. It's 1-0 Bruins and now the clock is truly ticking on the Hurricanes' season.-- 17:02: When Rask even looks comfortable and poised with his glove hand ... you know the guy is lights out. Rask continues to be in the zone and make even tonight more of an uphill climb for the Hurricanes.
-- 17:58: Bruins pick up where they left off to start the second period. Both teams have had jump and played a fairly clean game, though. It's about as even as these teams have looked in a lopsided series.
Recap: First Period
-- First Period Thoughts: Active opening stanza for both teams. However it's unequivocally the Bruins who had the better chances. The Hurricanes are out-shooting the B's 13-10 - but in terms of scoring chances, Boston had a 5-1 edge in the "high-danger" department and 8-5 overall. It's possible that Carolina simply doesn't have the firepower to hang with the Bruins, whether it's 5-on-5 or on special teams. However, McElhinney certainly kept his team alive with a superb start to this game. We'll see if he can hold up like that for 60 minutes. Unfortunately for McElhinney, the guys in front of him may not be able to get more than 1-2 past Tuukka Rask.
-- 5:42: Successful PK for the Bruins. Special teams has made a massive difference for them this series, especially considering the abundance of calls going both ways.
-- 7:42: Charlie Coyle is off for interference. Not the best call. But we'll get 17 seconds of 4-on-4 before another power play for the Hurricanes.
Charlie Coyle called for interference on…this pic.twitter.com/lx00PNbeLS
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 17, 2019
-- 9:25: Nino Niederreiter is whistled for slashing. Bruins will go to the power play with a chance to cash in where Carolina could not.
-- 12:32: Curtis McElhinney makes an incredible sliding glove save on Brad Marchand, stopping what was a sure goal if he couldn't get over in time. Shots are 5-4 in favor of the Bruins and the Hurricanes did nothing with their early power play attempt. Hasn't been good enough for a team facing the end of the line.
Big time save by McElhinney to rob Marchand pic.twitter.com/V7VdzujU4o
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 17, 2019
-- 18:42: Matt Grzelcyk is whistled for tripping Nino Niederreiter. Looks like Niederreiter fell on his own (flopped?), but Grzelcyk did have his stick hooked between Niederreiter's legs.
-- 19:00: Right out the gate, Noel Acciari making an impact in his return to the lineup in place of Chris Wagner. Simple forechecking and grinding in the corners to help stall any energy or momentum the Hurricanes want to generate in the early-going.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].