Hurricanes-Bruins Game 1 result prompts NHL teams to make changes

Hours before game time on Monday, Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy spoke about the work that would be done in the hours following the game.

“I think you’re ready to play the game and the adjustments come as you go,” Cassidy said after the Bruins’ morning practice. “I think tonight around 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. the coaching staffs of both teams will be like, ‘OK, maybe that’s the direction it’s going to go’ or it plays out as you think.

“But that’s where the tinkering begins, I think. After every game you say, “OK, they reported us here or we didn’t see this coming or whatever.” I think both teams are playing good hockey. But it takes a bit of time most of the time to get in there and get going and create some kind of animosity, usually.

That said, the Bruins were beaten 5-1 by the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup first-round series. Let the DIY begin.

The Canes’ training facility was expected to be a happier place late Monday night. But coaches are never completely satisfied and that includes Canes’ Rod Brind’Amour.

Admittedly, the start could have been better for Carolina. The Bruins did their best to try and quiet a noisy crowd at the PNC Arena, taking 14 shots on goal, only to have Canes goaltender Antti Raanta deny all 14.

“They had a good game. They came out and they were good at the start,” Brind’Amour said on Tuesday, “(Raanta) made some big saves early to get us into our game. But there’s a lot of things we can improve on and we’re going to have to do that.

It’s hard to say how the game might have been affected if Boston’s Jake DeBrusk had scored on a shot 20 seconds into the game. It didn’t go far. Raanta made the save at the post. But the Bruins were inches from a 1-0 lead and had more chances in the first.

“Their goalie made saves and there were pucks in front of the net that we just couldn’t locate or take the right path, but they were there,” Cassidy said. “He did a good job and he kept them in the game.

“It’s a team, if you have the lead, it’s easier for us if we take the lead. They play better when they have it. They’re made for it, they check well. It opens them up a bit if they are late. It could have had an impact on the game, for sure, if we finished.

Instead, with the Canes leading 2-1 in the third period, the Bruins were the ones caught opening a bit. With defender Matt Grzelcyk pinching the wall in the attacking zone, the Canes were able to switch to an odd man run the other way, with Teuvo Teravainen scoring a Vincent Trocheck pass.

“They have to chase the game. That’s what led to the third goal,” Brind’Amour said. “They were a bit more aggressive than they probably normally would be and we were able to take advantage of that.”

It all started with a base game, Cassidy said — a battle for the puck on the wall. The Canes’ Max Domi chipped the puck past Grzelcyk and out of the Carolina zone toward Trocheck, and Teravainen went over goaltender Linus Ullmark.

“They did a good job most of the night outside of the points in the walls,” Cassidy said. “If you look at third base, we’re stuck and we don’t win the battle for the puck and they get a two-on-one. That’s where we have to be better and that’s where they were better than us.

With the latest home change, Brind’Amour was able to tie in the way he preferred. This often meant Jordan Staal’s line with Niederreiter and Jesper Fast on the ice with defensemen Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce against Patrice Bergeron’s line.

Boston’s goal came from their second line as center Erik Haula, after hard work behind the Canes’ net, found Taylor Hall open in the slot to make it a 2-1 game. This came against Sebastian Aho’s line.

Let’s go for game 2, Wednesday at the PNC Arena. Brind’Amour could stick to what worked. Cassidy said Tuesday that Ullmark will start Game 2.

Anyway, there will still be a few late night coaching conferences.

Canes-Bruins highest viewership in 20 years

The Canes received plenty of national exposure from the Game 1 win. It was the most-watched opening night playoff game in at least 20 years, according to Sports TV News & Updates.

The game drew 857,000 viewers on ESPN, surpassing the previous record of 844,000 for the Flyers-Penguins opening night playoff game in 2012. Monday’s Tampa Bay-Toronto playoff opener drew 466,000 viewers on ESPN2.

The Canes game was the most-watched NHL game on cable since the 2021-22 season opener other than the Winter Classic, Sports TV News & Updates tweeted Tuesday.

Pull, Teuvo, pull

Teuvo Teravainen was surprised on Tuesday to learn he now has more career playoff goals (17) than assists (16). Trocheck was not.

“He has a phenomenal shot. He puts it where he wants it,” Trocheck said.

Teravainen, who scored 22 goals in the regular season, was often told by Brind’Amour to shoot the puck more. To which Brind’Amour noted, “There are other things I remind him to do. … One of his gifts is that he has a good shot but is very selfless and wants to make plays all the time.

This story was originally published May 3, 2022 10:03 a.m.

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In more than 30 years at the N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the beats for NC State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina, and is now in his 11th season on the beat for the Carolina Hurricanes. Alexander, who has won numerous state and national writing awards, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was part of The N&O’s coverage of the Cup run. Stanley 2006 Canes.

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