RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes changed their goalies with the hope of climbing back into contention in the Eastern Conference Final.
It might have worked out better for them if they could have forced the Boston Bruins to switch goalies.
Boston netminder Tuukka Rask continued his strong play by making 35 saves to lead the Bruins to a 2-1 win against the Hurricanes Tuesday night for a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. If the Bruins down the Hurricanes Thursday in Raleigh, they will advance to the Stanley Cup Final to play either the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour switched from Petr Mrazek to Curtis McElhinney in Game 3, and McElhinney gave him a solid performance. The Bruins had one goal waved off because of goalie interference in the third period.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask makes a save on Hurricanes left wing Micheal Ferland as Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy defends in the first period of Game 3. (Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports)
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The Hurricanes, who had been 5-0 at home in the playoffs, came out strong in the first period, only to have Rask make 20 saves to keep the game scoreless.
The Bruins took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals by Chris Wagner (1:21) and Brad Marchand (power play, 6:28), and Rask took care of the rest to spark the Bruins to their sixth consecutive postseason win. During the winning streak, the Bruins have outscored opponents 24-9.
In his past 11 starts in these playoffs, Rask has given up two or fewer goals nine times. In the two other games, he gave up three goals. Rask’s strong play has put him among the favorites for the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the top performer in the NHL playoffs.
The Hurricanes were 0-for-5 on the power play in Game 3, leaving them 1-for-12 in the series. They have only managed to score a power-play goal in four of their 14 playoff games.
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