Bruins scoring first; secondary scoring shining

It makes for quite the concoction.

Scoring first always puts the conceding team on the back foot. The Carolina Hurricanes know all about that — they’re 4-0 in this postseason when they pot the first goal of the game.

But the Boston Bruins have been able to pip their opponents to that first marker during a four-game winning streak that’s seen them see off the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games and now take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final into Game 2 on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC).

And in three of those wins, that first goal has come from someone outside the ‘Big Three’ on forward.

David Pastrnak got that all-important strike in Game 4 against the Blue Jackets, a goal that proved pivot in the Bruins turning around a 2-1 deficit in that series. David Krejci then went on to score first in each of the next two games and Steven Kampfer gave Boston an early lead in Game 1 against the Hurricanes last Thursday.


Secondary scoring played a big part in Game 6 for the Bruins, where Krejci was on point in the second, followed by goals from Marcus Johansson and David Backes in a 3-0 shutout win to send Columbus out.

In Game 1, Johansson was once again on point, scoring the tying goal in the third. After Patrice Bergeron‘s goal to take a 3-2 lead, Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner each found twine to put that game out of reach.

Side note: Johannson’s emergence with two goals in this past two games has been a welcomed sight after he was picked up at the trade deadline. 

The harmony between top-line production and secondary scoring has been well in sync during this streak. Carolina has to devote a lot to shutting down Bergeron, Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. It doesn’t feel like feast or famine right now for the Bruins and their top trio. They’re dangerous, and the secondary guys are picking up the scraps when offered.

The last time the Bruins won five straight came in 2013 — coincidentally, the last time they reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Boston has led for 155:54 and trailed for 13:08 during their streak

“Sometimes we get in a little bit of a passive mode, but we play a layered system where we try to make sure we’re in front of them towards the net, so they have to go through multiple bodies to get there and try to limit turnovers as well,” Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk told “Just try to play a simple game. It’s not necessarily the most fun game to watch, but it’s winning hockey this time of year.”

The Bruins weather a second-period storm where they were outshot 15-10 in Game 1 and when they grabbed the lead in the third, they made sure Carolina’s possession game couldn’t do just that.

The Hurricanes don’t give up many goals — some of the least in the postseason and the regular season. So the Bruins can take confidence in the fact they tucked five past them in Game 1.

• Conference Finals schedule, TV info
• PHT roundtable
• Hurricanes/Bruins series preview
• PHT Conference Finals predictions

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Scroll Down For:

    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

    Harry How/Getty Images

    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

    Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

    Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

    Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

    tampa bay lightning
    Scott Audette/Getty Images

    TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

    The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

    “This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

    Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

    Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

    Rasmus Sandin
    Julian Avram/Getty Images

    TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

    The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

    “Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

    The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

    Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.