The Boston Bruins are one win away from a Stanley Cup finals berth after a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday in the NHL Eastern Conference final.
Tuukka Rask made 35 saves for the Bruins, who followed up two home wins with a victory in Raleigh, North Carolina, to take a 3-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven series. Chris Wagner and Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins, who will try to complete a four-game sweep in Raleigh tomorrow.
“(Rask) is always calm and collected,” Boston centre Patrice Bergeron said. “Right now, he’s in the zone. He’s been amazing. He’s a huge reason why we’re here right now.”
Calvin de Haan scored and Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves for the Hurricanes, who lost at home for the first time in these playoffs after five wins on home ice. McElhinney, who won the final three games in Carolina’s second-round sweep of the New York Islanders, started for the Hurricanes after they were outscored 11-4 in the first two games of the series with Petr Mrazek in front of the net.
“We came out exactly how we wanted to, but it didn’t work out,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I’m proud of the way we played that game.”
After Rask made 20 saves in the first period, the Bruins took advantage of a Hurricanes turnover to take a 1-0 lead 1:21 into the second.
Brock McGinn’s clearing pass hit Boston forward Sean Kuraly in the skates, and Joakim Nordstrom fed Wagner for a redirection. Marchand gave Boston a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal at 6:28.
De Haan cut the lead to 2-1 with slap shot from the left face-off circle that beat Rask at 13:48.
The goal was de Haan’s first in 27 NHL playoff games, but the Hurricanes couldn’t build on it. Carolina were 0-for-5 on the power play, including four opportunities in the first period.
“Our power play wasn’t, again, good enough - 5-on-3, 4-on-3,” captain Justin Williams said. “We didn’t get enough on it.”
Sabres name Krueger fifth head coach since 2013
Named Buffalo’s fifth head coach since 2013 yesterday, Ralph Krueger takes on the task of ending the Sabres’ eight-year Stanley Cup playoff drought. General manager Jason Botterill believes the 59-year-old former Edmonton Oilers coach and English Premier League executive is uniquely qualified to handle the job.
“Throughout his career, Ralph has shown the ability to adapt to a variety of high-pressure environments while leading some of the world’s elite players,” Botterill said in a statement. “His strong communication skills, leadership and diverse background make him a uniquely qualified candidate to lead our team going forward.”
The last time Krueger coached hockey was in 2016, when he led Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. He also coached Switzerland in international play for more than a decade. Krueger posted a 19-22-7 record in his 2012-13 stint with the Oilers and drew praise for his work with younger players.
From 2014 until last month, Krueger served as chairman of the Premier League club Southampton FC. He told The Athletic last month that his experience there will translate to the NHL.
“Now I’ve had the opportunity to be that person who creates a culture where you try to have it that everybody can really find their potential and find out what they’re made of,” Krueger said. “So my evolution has been neat that way. Now six years into this, if someone is asking me about the NHL, your brain goes to a similar role.”
The Sabres finished with the NHL’s fifth-worst record in 2018-19, winning just 16 of their final 57 games.
The most critical tasks facing Krueger and Botterill this offseason include re-signing center Jeff Skinner and preparing for next month’s draft, where Buffalo has the No. 7 overall pick.
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