Brad Marchand scores twice, Bruins beat Canes to tie series
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Brad Merchand had two goals and three assists, including a tiebreaker at the start of the third period, and the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on Sunday, even in their first-round play-off series in two games.
Boston played without its top two defenders after Charlie McAvoy’s last-minute scratch and sideline joining Hampas Lindhome, but the Bruins rallied twice for their second playoff win.
Patrice Bergeron had one goal and two assists and David Pastranak had one goal for the Bruins. Rookie Jeremy Swaiman made 23 saves.
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Brett Paes and Jordan Stall scored for the Carolinas and Aunty Ranta returned for the Metropolitan Division Champions with 23 shots to spare.
The best-of-seven series will play 5 Tuesday nights in Carolina, and 6 games Thursday in Boston.
Paes gave Carolina the lead in the sixth minute of the game, the Hurricanes scoring the first goal for the fourth time – seventh, if you count their three regular-season wins against Boston. But Bergeron tied it in the first four minutes of the first period when he made a loose puck slide on Runter’s leg.
Just 33 seconds into the second period, Nino Niderwriter backhanded out to Stall for a one-timer that gave Carolina a 2-1 lead.
In the last 90 seconds of the second period, in a power play with Boston, Merchant punches Pak in the backhand, and sits down to clear Jake Dibrusk as he hits the crease.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind challenged our goalkeepers to intervene, but the call stood. This gave Boston another power play, and it became a 5-on-3 when Sebastian Aho was given a double-minor for a high-sticking burger in the slot.
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With the start of the third period, Boston’s Double-Minor still had 44 seconds left in 5-on-3 and 2:58. With one second left in the two-man advantage, Merchand scored a goal into the net to give Boston the first lead of the day.
Pasternak added an insurance goal five minutes later, and put the merchandise on an empty net.
Ranta left after a clash with Pasternak in the first leg of the second game. Pyotr Kochetkov relieved him and picked up a win in Game 2 as the Hurricanes led 2-0 in the series.
But on Friday night the Bruins beat Kochetkov 4-2 and Ranta returned to Game 4.
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Marchand’s first goal was so close to the end of the 5-on-3 that the officials had to check whether the first penalty had expired. The question was whether the Bruins would take full advantage of the double-minor in Aho (if the goal came in 43 seconds), or in the last 2 minutes (if the goal came in 44 seconds).
After a review, it was scheduled to arrive at the 43-second mark of the period, which means Boston still had a Power Play 2:53. It was removed about two minutes later by a high-sticking call from Matt Grazelsick.
Less than an hour before the opening encounter, McAvoy was scratched and placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Josh Brown, who has played in six games for the Bruins since joining the trade deadline from Ottawa, was active instead.
A 24-year-old Boston University product taken in the first round of the 2016 draft, McAvoy had a career-high 10 goals and 46 assists, leading all Bruins defenders in scoring and averaging 24 minutes, 39 seconds per game.
Lindhome, the team’s top trade deadline acquisition, Game 2 is showing signs of an injury and has not returned.
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