If the Canes’ 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 3 had to be summed up in two words, those two words would be: missed opportunities.
Only 25 seconds into the game, the Canes had a great chance to score. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was on the other side of the net, and the Canes missed a wide open net that could have given them a huge, much-needed momentum boost not even a minute into the game.
On a power play opportunity only 2:50 into the game, the Canes were able to record multiple shots on Task, with no goals to show for it.
With 5:43 remaining in the first period, Canes winger Nino Neiderreiter fed fellow winger Saku Maenalanen right in front of the net, who was unable to put a backhand past Rask.
The Bruins were able to take advantage of missed opportunities and sloppy play by the Canes. Only 1:21 into the second period, former Canes winger Joakim Nordstrom found Chris Wagner on the opposite side of Canes goalie Curtis McElhinney for the easy tip-in. 1-0 Boston.
A little over fiver minutes later, Bruins winger Brad Marchand snuck one through McElhinney’s five-hole to extend the Bruins’ lead to 2-0.
The Canes would not go down easy, however. After Rask made a great two-on-one save on a great shot from Sebastian Aho, Canes defenseman Calvin De Haan was able to sneak one through Rask’s five-hole with 6:12 remaining in the second period. Canes close the deficit to 2-1.
The rest of the game was scoreless, and after a missed five-on-three power play opportunity, multiple power plays with good shots, but no goals, and multiple Rask saves, the Bruins won the game, 2-1, and extended their series lead to 3-0.
With the Canes season in desperation, it will be interesting to see if coach Rod Brind’Amour shakes up the lineup at all. There is not much else for the Canes to do except keep playing their game.
If they want to be the first NHL team since 2014 to come back from an 0-3 playoff series deficit (Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks), the Canes will need to capitalize on their opportunities.
Game 4 is Thursday night at 8 P.M. on NBCSN.