The Boston Bruins have swept the Carolina Hurricanes right out of the Eastern Conference Final and will await either the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues for the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins took Game Four in decisive fashion, pasting the Hurricanes to the wall thanks to an effortless goaltending performance by Tuukka Rask and a relentless offensive attack.
After a scoreless first period, Boston snagged a beautiful goal from David Pastrnak thanks to a Brad Marchand pass and followed up with a Patrice Bergeron marker to take a two-goal lead into the second intermission.
Bergeron followed up with his eighth goal of the playoffs in the third period, putting the game out of reach. Marchand added an empty-netter for a final score of 4-0.
Carolina struggled to get shots on goal through large stretches of the game and could not generate much offence, while the Bruins were content to sit back and wait out the clock. There was some word that the visiting team felt so comfortable playing for the series that they relented a little down the line.
The Bruins did not have captain Zdeno Chara in the lineup for Game Four but it hardly mattered, as their defence clogged up the middle and kept the puck to the perimeter.
Boston managed to get their power play going at exactly the right time, going two for three in Game Four. The Hurricanes were held off the board entirely and saw their man-advantage go zero for two.
Carolina went with goalie Curtis McElhinney once again after Petr Mrazek played poorly in Game One and Game Two. McElhinney fought valiantly through Game Three and achieved some measure of success, but things were well out of reach in Game Four.
Carolina simply couldn’t generate anything when it mattered, putting together just a small collection of shots in the third period with the game on the line.
Boston is on an impressive roll, having not lost a game in the month of May and outscoring Carolina 17-5.
The Bruins will now have plenty of time to prepare for the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues and Sharks are locked in a controversial series, with the Sharks ahead one game. That gives Boston anywhere from nine to 11 days off before challenging for the ultimate prize in sports.
(Photo credit: NHL.com)