This morning, the Bruins announced that Tuukka Rask would be opting out of the remainder of the playoffs in order to spend time with family. The team will have to rely on Jaroslav Halak at goalie for the rest of the playoffs. With Rask out and David Pastrnak day-to-day, I was skeptical of Boston’s chances to win it all. But today, the Bruins proved that they still have a shot, as they took down Carolina 3-1 with Halak in the net and Pasta out of the lineup for the second straight game. The Bruins now lead the series 2-1.
Charlie Coyle stepped up for two points as he played with the first line in Pastrnak’s place for a good portion of the game. Coyle, like Pastrnak, is a great finisher, so he’s an underrated player that can at least help fill the gap Pastrnak leaves. Brad Marchand and David Krejci also had two points of their own.
Jaroslav Halak was pretty good in Rask’s place. The one mistake he did make led to Carolina’s only goal. Halak was out of the net, and used his stick attempting to air the puck out. Instead, he shot it close to the net, where Hurricanes forward Nino Niederreiter was waiting and scored.
The Bruins’ third goal was an empty net goal by Brad Marchand. In addition to the empty netter, there was one power play goal and one shorthanded goal scored on Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek.
Late in the game, the Hurricanes lost forward Andrei Svechnikov, one of their top goal scorers, and the Bruins should have Pasta back soon. So I think the Bruins should be able to finish this series on top. Their success from that point on could depend on their opponents. If the Lightning and Capitals are both eliminated, the Bruins have a good shot to return to the Stanley Cup Final. But facing the Lightning might be tough without Rask. The good news is, they proved today that they can win games without Rask. Halak’s struggles against Philly concerned me, but the Bruins are clearly getting back into playoff form, so I’m not giving up hope yet.