BOSTON — The Bruins got exactly what they needed in Friday’s Game 3 of their first round series with the Hurricanes, dominating the special teams play and frustrating Carolina in a way they couldn’t back in Raleigh where the Hurricanes won the first two games of the series.
Now the pressure shifts onto the Hurricanes.
The Bruins scored shorthanded and twice on the power play to earn a 4-2 win a TD Garden in Boston.
“We lost the specialty teams battle,” said defenseman Brandon Smith, who greeted the media after the game with some newly applied stitches to the bridge of his nose. “We have to go and look at it and figure it out, and that’s a lot of times how you win games in the playoffs. It comes down to that.”
The Hurricanes also exited the loss bloodied and battered.
Carolina forward Jordan Martinook was injured just before the game’s midway point when Boston’s Taylor Hall horse-collared him from behind, both knocking off Martinook’s helmet and him from the game. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour called his status “questionable.”
Smith’s wound came later in the second period when he was shouldered in the head by Bruins blueliner Connor Clifton. But the defenseman wasn’t crying over spilled blood.
“That’s the game. That’s playoff hockey,” Smith said.
The physical damage to the Hurricanes was done in those six minutes, but it had been done on the scoreboard well before.
Carolina looked like it was ready to push the Bruins closer to a first round exit when Vincent Trocheck scored just over nine minutes into the game. That proved to be the highlight of the Hurricanes’ night.
The Bruins tied the game on special teams, but not with their power play.
With Carolina on the power play, center Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s attempt to get the puck to the point was deflected. Boston went the other way on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush, and Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk feathered the puck past Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo for an easy tap in for Charlie Coyle and a 1-1 tie at 17:16 of the first.
“Our power play should be giving us momentum, not taking it away, not giving them momentum,” Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said.
On top of giving up a goal, the Hurricanes’ power play didn’t contribute any, going 0 for 5 on the night.
“The top guys have got to be better. Simple,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
The Bruins went ahead a goal when Brad Marchand scored at 5:41 of the middle frame and then went to work on the power play — with David Pastrnak headlining.
Just after a 5-on-3 Boston power play ended, Pastrnak snapped a shot past Carolina rookie goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov (24 saves) to extend the Bruins’ lead to 3-1 at 14:53 of the second period.
“We did a heck of a job killing the 5-on-3,” Brind’Amour said. “But you give too many looks to these top guys, they’re going to make you pay eventually, and that’s what happened.”
Then with the Hurricanes again in the penalty box, Pastrnak one-touched a pass to Taylor Hall for an easy goal at the far right post at 4:08 of the third to give Boston a 4-1 lead.
A shot by Slavin with 8:30 remaining in regulation somehow got past Jeremy Swayman (25 saves) and gave the visitors hope, but the Bruins kept the Hurricanes at bay and cut Carolina’s series lead to 2-1 ahead of Sunday’s matinee Game 4.
“We’ve just got to make sure we stay out of the box,” Slavin said, “and when we do get a power play we’ve got to make sure it’s better and execute on it.”
Notes: Martinook and Trocheck were both guilty of two minor penalties, with the former’s both coming in the first period and the latter’s leading to Boston’s two power play goals. … Marchand finished with three points for the Bruins. … Kochetkov lost for the first time as an NHL goalie. He’s now split his two postseason decisions and is 4-1-0 overall. … Boston’s Derek Forbort was credited with nine blocked shots. The Bruins blocked 29 shots in all.