Going into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Canes had hope that they could extend the series one more game.
And for much of the night, they played like they were going to extend the series. Their defense was good, opportunities were being created on the offensive end, and Curtis McElhinney was playing the game of his life.
However, the Canes finally met their match in this series, the Boston Bruins, and their match was able to overpower them to the tune of a 4-0 sweep.
In last night’s game, the first period was scoreless. The Canes had a power play opportunity only 79 seconds into the game, which they did not convert on. The Bruins even got an odd-man rush on the shorthand.
Outside of this power play, the Canes were able to pressure Tuukka Risk, arguably the Bruins’ hero of this series. Shot after shot, save after save, Rask did not let anything by.
In the second period, the momentum started to shift from equal to all-Boston. Only 4:46 into the period, Bruins winger David “Pasta” Pastrnak redirected a pass from linemate Brad Marchand past Curtis McElhinney for a 1-0 Bruins lead.
With under two minutes to go, Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron took a pass from Pastrnak between the circles, and fired it past McElhinney for a 2-0 Bruins lead.
Going into the third period, the Canes knew they needed something substantial to keep their season alive. Coming out of the period, you could see that same fire the Canes were playing with in the first period.
That fire would soon wear off, however, as the Bruins posted two more goals in the third period: one from Bergeron, and one from Marchand.
In a game that the Canes needed, the storyline was, once again, missed opportunities. The Bruins scored on two of their powerplays, while the Canes scored on none of theirs. In the series, the Bruins scored on seven of their power plays, while the Canes only scored on one (Aho in Game 1).
While this might have been a disappointing end to a great season, the Canes fans looked at this season as a huge success. We were not expected to make the playoffs, and we did that. We were told that we would get swept in the first round. We managed to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. We saw the emergence of guys like Brock McGinn and Warren Foegele.
I am proud of what the Canes accomplished. It is not easy to make it to the playoffs, let alone win a game (and two series). Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek gave us goalies of the future.
I could think of a million ways how I was proud of the Canes this past season. Thanks to my parents, I was even able to go see the Canes first playoff game in 10 years (Game 3 vs. the Caps in Round 1), plus Game 3 of the ECF.
I am excited to see what the Canes do in the offseason, and I cannot wait for another season of Canes hockey next year.
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