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Stanley Cup Playoffs Daily: Bruins one win away from Cup Final

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Published in Hockey
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 04:56

The Boston Bruins are on a six-game winning streak, and after a 2-1 victory on Tuesday, they are just one win away from a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. The Carolina Hurricanes? They'll need to conjure up something special to keep their Cinderella story going.

Here's a recap of last night's action (check out replays of every playoff game on ESPN+) and what to watch for tonight, in today's edition of ESPN Stanley Cup Playoffs Daily:

Jump ahead: Last night's game | Three stars
Play of the night | Today's game | Social post of the day

About last night ...

Game 3: Boston Bruins 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (Bruins lead the series 3-0)

Carolina was hoping to recapture some energy at home, and the first period could not have gone better from a strategy standpoint. The Canes had a 33-9 edge in shot attempts. According to Natural Stat Trick, that made their expected goals rate 2.49. But they just couldn't get one past Tuukka Rask. Boston's goalie came up with save after beautiful save. If this game doesn't win over all Rask skeptics in Boston, nothing will.

Goals by Chris Wagner and Brad Marchand turned out to be all the offense the Bruins needed. Carolina is now in desperation mode and can't rely on its power play, which is 1-for-12 this series (8.3 percent) and 5-for-50 this postseason (10.0 percent). Coach Rod Brind'Amour summed up the Canes' night: "That sucked. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Felt like you got kicked in the you know where. Stings for a while. But you show up tomorrow."

Three stars

1. Tuukka Rask, G, Boston Bruins. Rask was clearly the difference in Game 3, which continues a trend this month. According to Natural Stat Trick, he has saved 29 of 30 high-danger chances at even strength in May, good for a .967 save percentage on those shots. (He's at .944 overall at even strength this month.)

2. Chris Wagner, RW, Boston Bruins. After the Bruins emerged unscathed from Carolina's dominant first period, Wagner opened the scoring after a seeing-eye pass from Joakim Nordstrom:

3. Calvin de Haan, D, Carolina Hurricanes. There have been a lot of firsts this postseason for the Canes, and de Haan's second-period goal was his first career playoff tally in 27 contests.

Play of the night

To be honest, there are about 10 different Rask plays we could have highlighted here.

Dud of the night

Justin Williams engaged in a running battle with Torey Krug, took three penalties in the first period and sneaked some punches to David Backes' head in a scrum. Not the best look for the captain. (Remember, after being baited into a penalty by Brad Marchand in Game 2, Williams said he was old enough and ought to know better.)

For the record, Williams said he didn't think his emotions got the best of him on Tuesday night, quashing that question with a simple: "Nope." Brind'Amour defended his captain, though he couldn't defend the high hit on Krug that earned one of the two-minute minors.

"Willy got a little high on a hit," Brind'Amour said. "That's not characteristic. The other ones are just battling."

On the schedule

San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues, Game 3, 8 p.m. ET (series is tied 1-1)

With Nathan MacKinnon eliminated, this is an unimpeachable fact: Logan Couture is the most dominant forward remaining in the playoffs. He now has 13 goals -- four more than any other player -- and 19 points in 16 games. This could be the postseason that finally elevates his profile, to be mentioned with the elite forwards in the game.

Another takeaway from Game 2? No matter how dominant the Sharks' offense has been this postseason, it's way too early to discount Jordan Binnington. He has been especially impressive following losses. St. Louis made some defensive switches, which gave them a boost. Not helping their cause? Special teams. The Blues were 0-for-5 on the power play (and 7-for-47 in the postseason) and gave up a short-handed goal to Couture. It was the third shortie St. Louis has allowed these playoffs, most of any team.

Social post of the day

We'll just leave this here.


"Thanks for coming, Chuck."

Both Tuukka Rask and Charlie McAvoy were asked to go to the podium after the Bruins' win. The media had a lot of interest in Rask. Not so much for McAvoy, who was asked exactly zero questions.

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