Find a General Manager across the NHL who had a better trade deadline then Don Sweeney of the Bruins.
You probably can’t. Sweeney’s additions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson in late February have been nothing short of a stroke of genius, each forward supplying Boston with much more than the depth they were originally intended for.
Through 15 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Coyle and Johansson have combined for nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points. And on Mother’s Day at the TD Garden, the star continued to shine bright for each acquisition, the unselfish play of both Johansson and Coyle aiding the Bruins to a 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference final.
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For the second game in a row, the Bruins struck first thanks to the foresight Johansson to find a passing lane rather than force a shot.
On a breakout pass from Connor Clifton, Johansson wound across the slot and to the left of the beleaguered Petr Mrazek, opting to find Matt Grzelcyk swooping in around the perimeter of the left-wing circle. Grzelcyk’s wrister snuck through Mrazek’s five-hole -- barely, as the puck fluttered across the goal line and Hurricanes blue liner Haydn Fleury immediately swept it away -- but the damage had been done for a 1-0 Boston lead at 15:22.
Johansson wasn’t done working his magic with the puck, either.
Shortly after Boston killed off an anemic Carolina power play in the second period, the Bruins were right back in the attacking zone wreaking havoc. Sensing just how displaced Mrazek was from the crease, Johansson was able to take two full strides back before dishing to a wide open Clifton for his first career goal -- regular or postseason, to make it 3-0 Boston at 3:46 of the second.
Not to be outdone, the local boy Coyle had a breakaway on the man advantage for the B’s late in the second period. Mrazek, already vulnerable in every which way, shape and form, bit as Coyle waited for Grzelcyk to arrive on the scene and drop a dime for the Charlestown native to pump into the back of the net for a 4-0 Boston edge at 17:56 of the frame.
DeBrusk’s goal doubled the Bruins advantage at 18:32 on the power play, a mere 6 seconds after Justin Williams had been sent to the box for a trip. Mrazek’s save of a David Pastrnak offering was left right onto DeBrusk’s tape, and the second-year pro crashed the net for a 2-0 edge that held through the first period.
David Backes scored the fifth goal for Boston 1:10 into the third, followed by Danton Heinen at 4:32. Dougie Hamilton soon resorted to becoming a cheap shot artist, taking Heinen down behind the net after his goal. Torey Krug had three assists for the B's.
Nino Niederreiter snapped a 10-0 run for the Bruins dating to the third period of Game 1 with a goal off a deflection at 11:17 of the third. Teuvo Teravainen gave the 'Canes one more at 17:32 after Tuukka Rask came just a bit too far outside of the crease to play the puck, leaving Teravainen with a wide open net.
Still, Rask came up with 21 saves on the afternoon.
Now halfway to a series win that would give Boston a berth in the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins have their sights set on Game 3, which is Tuesday in Raleigh, North Carolina at 8 p.m.