Sat, May 18, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Bruins sweep Hurricanes to make Cup Final

AP, RALEIGH, North Carolina

Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, front right, scores against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference final series in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Boston’s top line kept finding ways to score, especially on the power play. With a chance to clinch another series, Tuukka Rask was perfect — again.

Rask on Thursday posted his seventh career playoff shutout as the Bruins swept the Carolina Hurricanes out of the Eastern Conference final series, winning 4-0 to reach their third Stanley Cup Final in nine years.

“Everyone in the room wanted to be at their best and everyone was at their best tonight,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said.

Rask made 24 saves in his second straight series-clinching shutout.

Patrice Bergeron scored two goals, David Pastrnak had a goal and two assists, while Marchand added an empty-netter. Both Bergeron and Pastrnak scored on second-period power plays.

The Bruins won their seventh straight post-season game — their longest playoff winning streak in nearly half a century — to return to the Stanley Cup Final after winning in 2011 and losing to Chicago two years later.

“It’s so difficult to advance in the playoffs, let alone make it to the final,” said Rask, the backup to Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas in 2011. “We need to really enjoy this, but realize we have a lot of work to do.”

On their longest post-season winning streak since reeling off nine straight in 1972, Boston earned a break before taking on the winners of the Western Conference. San Jose led the series with St Louis 2-1 heading into yesterday’s Game 4.

The Bruins won this one without captain Zdeno Chara, who was scratched with an unspecified injury and is day to day, ending a run of 98 consecutive playoff games for the hulking 42-year-old veteran that dated to 2011.

Chara joined his teammates on the ice for the post-series handshake line with Carolina and while coach Bruce Cassidy declined to elaborate on the nature of Chara’s injury, he did say he is expected back for the start of the final.

Curtis McElhinney made 19 saves for the Hurricanes, whose first playoff appearance since 2009 ended precisely the same way their previous post-season trip did — by being swept in the Eastern Conference final.

“Listen, the tank’s been low for a long time,” Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. “It’s been running on adrenaline and sheer will. It’s always tough to swallow when the season ends, just abruptly like that. It’s like you’re cut real quick and you’ve got to go home.”

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