Pour one out for the jerks.
The Carolina Hurricanes’ surprise Stanley Cup Playoffs run came to a screeching but seemingly inevitable halt on Thursday with the Boston Bruins completing the sweep of the Metropolitan Division entry with a 4-0 victory.
Patrice Bergeron scored twice while linemates David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand bookended his brace for Boston, which has advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in nine seasons after a rather uninspiring and, in many ways, unwatchable Game 4.
While he didn’t necessarily have to be at his best in the series, the driving force behind Boston’s return to the championship series was Tuukka Rask. The often-maligned netminder added 23 saves to his total for the shutout to cap a brilliant seres, which featured just five goals against. Rask has thrust himself into prime position to potentially add a Conn Smythe Trophy to his resume along with his first Stanley Cup earned as Boston’s starter.
The flip side of the equation for Boston was its brilliant power play. Converting twice in Game 4, the Bruins scored their 17th with the man advantage in as many postseason games.
Nothing of the sort worked for the Hurricanes. While they won back many fans throughout their surprise run and also added some new ones for their defiant nature after being subject to criticism for their “Storm Surge” celebrations following regular season wins, the Bruins frustrated them and quickly broke their will. Carolina was held without a shot for over 14 minutes in the second period while just a goal away from tying the game, and offered very little pushback when down two in the third.
Boston now awaits the winner of the Western Conference final, which has the San Jose Sharks currently leading the St. Louis Blues 2-1.
Boston will have the rest advantage over whoever does emerge, but perhaps some fans will be wary of the rather odd pattern that has played out in the team’s wake. The New York Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins before they were swiftly eliminated in four games by the Hurricanes, who of course failed to register a win against the Bruins.
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