By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- During the round-robin tournament, a very wise and polite sports writer noted that for the Bruins, playing just 20 minutes of good hockey on a given night would not be good enough to beat a great team like the Tampa Bay Lightning.
That remains true. What's also true is that 20 minutes of good hockey is certainly enough to beat a team like the Carolina Hurricanes.
That much is undeniable after that relentless third-period surge on Monday night, when the Bruins were toast through 40 minutes but exploded with four goals on one end and some stifling defensive play on the other end. From the 7:26 mark of that third period until the the 14:17 mark, the Bruins turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Meanwhile the Hurricanes couldn't even land a shot on net until 87 seconds were left in the final period. The Canes were only able to attempt four shots prior to finally landing one on goal.
It was an impressive showing, an incredible turnaround, a thunderous awakening, and anything else you'd like to call it. As a result, the Bruins will have the chance to end this series on Wednesday afternoon.
Before then, let's hit the leftover thoughts from that ridiculous 4-3 win in Game 4 vs. the Hurricanes.
--Not to micturate into the punch bowl or anything here, but if that fast and furious comeback didn't happen, stories No. 1, 2, and 3 on Tuesday morning would be about the Boston goaltending.
It was bad.
Just days removed from impressively stepping into the starting role in the immediate wake of the Tuukka Rask news, Halak was simply bad in this one. It almost sunk them.
The Hurricanes didn't get a shot on net for the first nine-plus minutes of the game. When they finally did, Justin Williams' wrister from 45 feet out should have been easily handled. Instead, Halak got caught in between gloving the puck and stopping the shot with his body, resulting in a rather ugly save attempt.
The Bruins had controlled the game for the opening stretch of the first period, yet they had a 1-0 hole to show for it.
On that one, though, there was at least a flash screen that added to the degree of difficulty. On Carolina's second, which came just after the Bruins sustained possession in the offensive end on a power play, Halak had no such challenges.
That was a nothing sort of rush for Jordan Martinook -- who scored a whopping two goals in 45 regular-season games -- yet Halak looked to have been caught in the same matrix that prevented him from making the save earlier in the night.
That one is probably a back breaker on most nights. But the Bruins kinda-sorta made sure their goalie didn't play a factor in the third period when they prevented the Canes from landing a shot on net until the 18:33 mark of the final period. Of course, that puck went in off an odd deflection, which wasn't entirely Halak's fault. Nevertheless, Halak made just one save on two shots in the final period. He'd finish with just 16 saves on 19 shots total.
"Yeah I think they're both pucks he typically saves, both stoppable pucks, certainly the first one," Bruce Cassidy said of Halak's first two goals allowed. "Second one, the guy is coming with some speed so there may be some options that Jaro has got to be careful he doesn't come out too far and challenge. Martinook can really skate. But yeah, at the end of the day, we kept playing. You got to play through some stuff. These guys in the room know you win as a team, you lose as a team, and I'm sure they wanted to pick Jaro up and eventually the puck bounced our way so hopefully get some work in [Tuesday] and be a little sharper in Game 5."
Halak is no Vezina candidate like Rask, but he's certainly better than he was in Game 4. Credit to the Bruins for putting forth one of the most overwhelming third periods possible in order to overcome goaltending that was an adventure in this one.
--I don't know about you, but I can't watch the full-speed replay of Charlie McAvoy's hit on Jordan Staal without feeling it in my belly.
I don't feel so good.
That's 208 pounds of McAvoy sending 220 pounds of Staal into the air, by the way. Just a massive hit that you rarely see in today's NHL.
--David Krejci rung a post, which may technically qualify him as having cooled down. Yet he still picked up an assist on Boston's fourth goal, a tic-tac-toe work of beauty involved Ondrej Kase and Jake DeBrusk.
With that assist, Krejci extended his postseason points streak to five games. Despite his playoff prominence, he's only done that three times before in his career, and his career-long playoff point streak is six games, a mark he set last year in a stretch that included a four-game sweep of the ... Carolina Hurricanes.
In eight playoff games against Carolina since May of 2019, Krejci has two goals and eight assists. And now that his highly skilled left winger is waking out of a slump, Krejci could become even more lethal as the Bruins start to collectively find their stride.
--Krejci's wizardry generally shows itself through his passing, but in Game 4, it was Torey Krug who had the pass of the night.
There's not much to say about this 80-foot bank pass that sprung Brad Marchand for a breakaway. Just watch.
That's precisely why you spend all that time practicing.
"He's such a smart player," Marchand, who scored the go-ahead goal on the resulting breakaway, said of Krug. "He saw me going. I saw the turnover, I think they were making a change. I just started to go, we made eye contact. He made a great play to get it by that one defender. I was a little surprised actually when I looked up and there was nobody there. I thought there was going to be a D-man coming across the ice. But, a good break by us and great play by Torey."
(I call that one a Savard pass, and I maintain that it's a damn shame that Marc Savard played his career before every single highlight ended up YouTube. That man had some of the best vision in hockey history.)
--Brandon Carlo is taller than both Brad Marchand and Torey Krug.
Just letting you know.
--Anybody else notice the similarity between Dougie Hamilton's Game 2 goal ...
... and Connor Clifton's Game 4 goal?
Clifton's was a bit cooler because he got to dump a body as if he was the Hulk while also pirouetting as if he was Oksana Baiul immediately after scoring the game-tying goal in the third period of a playoff game. That seems like a fun thing to do.
--Sports are crazy, example No. 3,179,814:
--Poor James Reimer. I mean, it's kind of his fault. Coming out for a footrace against the speedy Jake DeBrusk is a bad idea. That kind of got things rolling in a bad way for Carolina, after it looked like James Reimer -- JAMES REIMER?! -- was about to become some sort of bugaboo for the Bruins in this series.
Instead, the floodgates opened, and, well, when you've got Reimer's playoff history vs. the Bruins, blowing another third-period lead will have unknown ramifications. The Canes can go back to Petr Mrazek -- who is 0-2 in this series-- in Game 5 or throw Reimer back out against the Bruins. Neither option seems fun.
--If you're the Carolina Hurricanes, you've got a lot to feel bad about after blowing that one. The person who might feel the worst is Martin Necas, who had a golden opportunity to bury a shot into an open net on a 2-on-1 with 3:15 left to play in the second period. But instead of cashing in, Necas wiped out, missing the net and crashing into the end boards.
That would've made it 3-0 and, who knows, maybe it would have been the nail in the coffin. Maybe it would have made for an even more ridiculous third-period eruption from Boston. In any event, you're going to want to bury those chances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
--There's still at least one more game to play in this series, but Rod Brind'Amour sure sounded like a defeated man after that 4-3 loss.
"They threw everything at us and we didn't have an answer. It was tough to watch, that's for sure," Brind'Amour said. "I love this team, I love my guys. We learned a lesson today, though. You know I got to take the good always with this group, and it's been mostly good for me for a year and a half, two years, with the effort and the way they play, and I got to take the bad on this one. It wasn't good. You know we just sat back and we let them take it to us, and you know that's what championship teams do, they take it to you. So, you know, we got to learn from that for sure but this one is going to sting for a while."
Brind'Amour added: "I just think it was one of those third periods where we took the foot off the gas and the other team certainly had it on and everything that could have went wrong went wrong. But it's not even the score, it's how we played that period that's really disturbing for me. I got to have my guys better ready to go in the third for such a crucial game in our season and I didn't."
Lastly, Brind'Amour was asked what the team can do from here, and his answer sounded like a farewell to the season.
"I mean I'll take some time here because emotions are obviously at a certain point," Brind'Amour said. "You know, it's what I've always said about, even taking over as coach, I wanted to make people that support this organization proud of how we play. I think we've done that for most of the time that I've been here, and today we didn't, and that's the most disturbing thing for me. So we've got to pick the pieces up and make sure we put an effort forward that you can say, that's how it should look and be proud of it. Win or lose, you got to be proud of how you play and that didn't happen tonight."
I guess it can be chalked up to Rod the Bod being a very emotional man. But you don't often see a coach sound so defeated after one single playoff loss.
--I'm honestly not sure how important historical data is for playoff series played in a bubble during a pandemic. Nevertheless, there is this:
Teams that win Game 4 to make a series 2-2 have gone on to win their playoff series 47.5 percent of the time.
On the flip side, teams that lose Game 4 to fall behind 3-1 in a series have lost their series 89.8 percent of the time.
More than half of those series ended in just five games (that might be the demoralizing effect of falling behind 3-1), while only 10 percent even made it to a Game 7.
That's precisely what was at stake in that final 20 minutes on Monday night. And if the Bruins are able to put together a long playoff run, that burst can be seen as the moment that made it a whole lot more possible.
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