Behind goals by Brad Marchand and a power play strike by Charlie Coyle, the Bruins entered the third period of Thursday’s Game 6 with a 2-0 lead.
3:24 into the third, the Hurricanes finally managed to get a puck past Jeremy Swayman and just like that, a sold-out TD Garden crowd held their collective breaths.
But the Bruins didn’t flinch.
Instead, they answered, and answered in a big way.
Erika Haula deflected a beauty of a Charlie McAvoy pass past Hurricanes’ goalie Antti Raanta, the Bruins extended their lead to two once again.
"Probably one of the best things we did tonight was respond after they made it 2-1. Earlier this year, we'd have to fight through that longer,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said.
“Right away, we came right back down, played the right way, managed the puck, got a puck back and scored the next goal. That's playoff hockey. We needed some guys to step up and score. We got it tonight.”
Derek Forbort and Curtis Lazar would follow with goals, the Bruins running away with Game 6, 5-1, forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 Saturday in Carolina.
"Guys should be excited,” Cassidy said. “Game 7 Stanley Cup Playoffs, home or road. I'd rather be at home, but we play where we play. I'd play on Mars if we had to.”
After Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak nearly singlehandedly brought the Bruins back to life with wins in Game 3 and Game 4, Cassidy broke up the dangerous trio, going back to what has worked throughout the course of the season.
Jake DeBrusk was back on the top line to the right of Marchand and Bergeron, Pastrnak back with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula.
Cassidy’s change could not have gone better.
"You change lines for a reason through the course of the playoffs. You hope you make the right call for the right reasons, and tonight it worked out for us,” Cassidy said.
“We walked through why we were good in certain parts of the game. Our D-zone coverage had to be better. Our shot-blocking, our sticks in the lane to take away some of their offense. And those four lines have all done it and done it well. That was the task in front of them.”
All four lines scored in Game 6, the Bruins finally getting consistency from their entire offense. A development the Bruins hope can continue in Game 7.
"I think a lot of the lines that were there tonight, we've played together a good chunk of this year,” Coyle said.
"I think having that lineup that we had, we're more familiar with one another, I think each line, and you can tell. We got contributions from a lot of different guys tonight, and that could play into how the lines were and guys more familiar and having that chemistry already, but we're just glad we got the job done."
Now for this series, the Bruins have one more job to do: win Game 7.
The Bruins have yet to win in Carolina, regular and postseason included. They’ve gotten off to good starts in Carolina this series, nothing to show for it.
We’ve seen it in Boston, the Hurricanes are a different team when they’re playing from behind. They don’t often give up leads. Getting off to a good start and capitalizing on it will be crucial in Game 7.
Stating the obvious, I know.
Buckle up Bruins fans, who doesn't love Game 7?