Gold: Canes vs Bruins: a look back
Ten years ago, the last time the Carolina Hurricanes graced the Stanley Cup playoffs with their presence, the Canes eliminated the Boston Bruins in the second round. But, it was really more than that. Two games after a controversial knockout punch from the fist of Scott Walker to the face of Boston defenseman Aaron Ward, it was Walker who sent the Bruins home on a rebound goal at 18:46 of overtime in Game 7.
This will be the fifth time in history that these two franchises have clashed in the postseason. The first two occurred when the team was the Hartford Whalers. In 1990, the Bruins beat Hartford in seven games. The following season it took Boston six to dispatch the Whalers.
The Bruins and Hurricanes met in the 1999 postseason, with the North Carolina home games played in Greensboro, the season before the Hurricanes moved into their new home in Raleigh. Boston won a grueling Game 5 in double overtime at the Greensboro Coliseum when Anson Carter scored with just over five minutes left in the second extra period. Then, two nights later, the Bs shut the Canes out and advanced in six games.
This year, the teams met just three times and each was noteworthy for different reasons.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018, PNC Arena, Bruins 3, Hurricanes 2.
The night before Halloween, the Hurricanes hosted the Bruins as Scott Darling made his season debut. No doubt, you recall the Darling struggles of the previous season in which he was officially the worst starting goaltender in the National Hockey League. Well, a lot was made of the offseason conditioning program, and Darling’s girlfriend moving to Raleigh to help him gain some stability in his personal life.
During the preseason, it appeared that everything was progressing beautifully. The second-year Carolina backstop turned aside 43 of 46 shots in three pre-season appearances before leaving midway through the final exhibition game with a strained hamstring. Exactly one month later, Darling was back in the crease, only this time it was for keeps.
Through a period and a half, Darling was spectacular. He looked like a man determined to make good on a leap-of-faith contract signed under the previous regime. But then, a little more than midway through the second period, David Pastrnak fired a bad-angle wrist shot that somehow got through Darling to tie the game at one. Ultimately, it ended up a deflating 3-2 Bruins win.
Sunday, December 23, 2018, PNC Arena, Whalers 5, Bruins 3.
Yes, that’s right. The first of two “Whalers Night” games took place two days before Santa’s midnight ride as the Canes donned throwback kelly green Whalers uniforms and played in front of more than 17,000 fans at PNC Arena, the largest home crowd since the opening night sell out.
It didn’t start out well, as the Bruins tagged Petr Mrazek for a pair of goals in the first nine minutes of the game. But, Teuvo Teravainen scored later in the first to cut the lead in half and Carolina would score three straight in the 2nd period en route to the win. Teravainen AND Sebastian Aho each scored twice, each potted one shorthanded, and each had two assists as the duo dominated the game.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019, TD Garden, Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT).
Again, decked out in the locally familiar bright green uniforms, the Whalers got off to a fast start. Sebastian Aho scored twice to open up a 2-0 lead. But, Boston scored the games next three goals to forge ahead, taking the lead on a Patrice Bergeron marker 2:45 into the 3rd period. Justin Williams would tie the score with just under eight minutes to play and the game would ultimately be decided in overtime.
A minute 46 into the 3-on-3, David Krejci finished off a Jake DeBrusk pass and the Bruins skated off with two points.
So, the Bruins got the better (slightly) of the Hurricanes over the course of the season, and they’ve taken three of the four postseason series from their former neighborhood rivals. But the last time these two saw each other in the month of May, it was the Hurricanes who managed to advance.
Ten years later, the two teams who once upon a time shared a region will now share a 200x85 foot rink for the right to play for the Stanley Cup.