Opinion: Bruins’ superior special teams make the difference in Game 1 win vs. Hurricanes

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins boast the No. 1 power play in the NHL playoffs and the Carolina Hurricanes have one of the worst penalty-killing percentages.

The Hurricanes were concerned about that coming into the Eastern Conference final, and their concern proved to be well-founded.

The Bruins, starting the series with a 28.6% power play efficiency, scored two power-play goals 28 seconds apart early in the third period to beat the Hurricanes 5-2 in the opening game of the best-of-seven series.

Goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 28 of 30 shots and the Bruins broke the game open with an empty netter by defenseman Brandon Carlo and a breakaway goal by Chris Wagner.

The Hurricanes had a disappointing 75% penalty killing efficiency coming into the series, ranking 13th out of the 16 playoff qualifiers.

Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer, left, is all smiles after his first-period goal against the Hurricanes. It was the 30-year-old's first playoff goal in his second postseason appearance. (Photo: Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports)

Jordan Staal was in the penalty box for boarding when Boston’s Marcus Johansson scored the first power-play goal at 2:26 of the third period to tie the game 2-2.

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton was in the box for roughing when Patrice Bergeron converted Brad Marchand’s feed to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead at 2:54. Marchand had the primary assist on both power-play goals.

 Carolina had built a 2-1 lead on Sebastien Aho’s power-play goal in the first period and Greg McKegg’s even-strength goal midway through the second period.

 

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