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Playoffs Round Up: Eastern Conference Final edition

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It feels good to not cover the Western Conference anymore because the Sharks are in the final!

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) smiles at teammates after their 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in game two of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden.  Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

As I’m sure you all know, the St. Louis Blues beat the Dallas Stars in a double-overtime win-or-go-home match. The San Jose Sharks followed suit, sending the Colorado Avalanche home after Thursday’s Game 7. That means the Sharks are back in the Western Conference Final. Can I get a heck yeah? But since we cover the Sharks daily, I guess we’ll just talk about the Eastern Conference now, were the Bruins and Hurricanes are fighting for a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.

Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes

The Boston Bruins faced Game One without a key figure in their lineup. Charlie McAvoy was suspended one game after an illegal hit to the head of Josh Anderson during Game 6 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Without him, the Bruins held up just fine. The Carolina Hurricanes took several pointless penalties and the Bruins’ special teams capitalized on it.

Prior to taking several penalties though, the Hurricanes were leading the Bruins 2-1 going into the third period. The Bruins went on to score four goals in the third period, ending the game with a 5-2 victory. Without spending so much time in the box, maybe the Hurricanes could have pulled off a win. The Carolina goals were scored by Sebastian Aho and Greg McKegg (10/10 name). Boston’s goals came from Marcus Johansson (a great trade deadline pick up for Boston), Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle (another great pick up), Steven Kampfer and Chris Wagner. Petr Mrazek returned to the net for Carolina, but he was far from blame in this game, making 23 saves. Tuukka Rask had 29 saves on the night.

Game 2 saw the same mistakes for Carolina. The Boston Bruins won this one 6-2. Two of those goals were scored on the power play. Carolina’s kill isn’t great, like, not even a little. To quote Carolina’s captain Justin Williams, who put it lightly, “it was like eating a poop sandwich.” He also took a questionable penalty from Brad Marchand, in his defense.

Petr Mrazek made 19 saves on 25 shots. Sunday’s performance wasn’t optimal for Carolina. Their goals were scored by Tuevo Teravainen and Justin Williams. Boston had goals from Danton Heinen, Connor Clifton (his first NHL goal), Jake DeBrusk, David Backes and two from Matt Grzelcyk. Tuukka Rask made 21 saves between the pipes for Boston.

Will Curtis McElhinney see time in net for Carolina? It still seems up in the air. We’ll find out when the Canes return home for Game 3, tonight at 5 p.m. PT.