BOSTON — Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored twice during Carolina’s five-goal first period, Jaccob Slavin added a goal and two assists after a two-game absence, and the Hurricanes snapped the Boston Bruins‘ five-game winning streak with a 7-1 victory Tuesday night.
Teuvo Teravainen, Seth Jarvis, Derek Stepan and Andrei Svechnikov also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won two straight, seven of nine and are flexing their muscle across the Eastern Conference as the league heads into the All-Star Break.
“We had nothing. They were clearly better than us in every area,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We weren’t competitive … and we paid the price.”
But as powerful a display as the road team put on at TD Garden, Tuesday’s story was more about the home team’s goaltender.
The Hurricanes’ early barrage caused the Bruins to pull Tuukka Rask in favor of Linus Ullmark after Rask allowed five goals on 12 shots in the first period. It marked the first time Boston had allowed five goals in the opening period since March 3, 2008, at Washington.
“There was purpose in what we were trying to do, and listen, we scored on our chances,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Everything we did right early, went in the net, which is nice. And that doesn’t happen often.”
Rask signed with the team earlier this month after a lengthy absence and offseason surgery. He made his season debut last week, and has kept up with the Bruins’ streak, but looked rusty against a team that has balanced scoring across their four lines.
Cassidy, though, did not point blame toward his veteran goaltender, the franchise’s all-time winningest netminder. Instead, he spoke more about his skaters.
“We didn’t do a very good job in front of him,” he said.
After dressing as a backup the night before, Rask started against the Philadelphia Flyers last week at home, posting a 3-2 victory in which he stopped 25 shots.
“One thing you learn over the years: You’re never as bad or as good as you think,” Rask said.
Ullmark had to play the rest of the way for Boston vs. Carolina, though, stopping 20 shots. Patrice Bergeron had the lone goal for the Bruins, who were 1 of 5 on power plays.
How the team performed overall against an elite Eastern Conference foe was clearly where Cassidy wanted to dwell in his postgame media availability, despite many questions about his goaltenders. The coach, in fact, mentioned that his club would have needed an “unbelievable” performance from Rask to compete. And “that’s an unfair ask,” he said.
The six-goal loss was Boston’s worst of the season, and Carolina goaltender Frederik Andersen made matters worse by stopping 31 shots. The win for Andersen, a free-agent acquisition this offseason, was his 20th in just 26 starts.
“You’re going to have these games once in a while,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s rare, but it happens. Obviously, we love the result.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.