Boston beats Carolina to take 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals

RALEIGH, N.C. — Tuukka Rask and the Bruins stood tall during an early deluge of shots and penalties, patiently waiting for their chance to take over the game.

Then one big burst put them on the brink of another trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Boston beat Carolina 2-1 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals after Chris Wagner and Brad Marchand scored 5:07 apart in the second period.

“The moral of the story is, we got through the first period — however you want to describe it — and off we went after that,” Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Rask stopped 35 shots for the Bruins, who have won six straight postseason games for the first time since 1978. They are one victory from their third Stanley Cup appearance in nine years.

Boston will go for the sweep Thursday night.

“This year, I feel like we really have each other’s backs,” Rask said. “We’ve been in some tight games, and then our depth comes in, and we score some goals and we take over the games.”

Calvin de Haan scored and Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves for the Hurricanes, starting in place of Petr Mrazek, who allowed 10 goals in the first two games of the series.

This one was closer, but it still wasn’t enough to keep alive Carolina’s postseason perfection at home.

The Hurricanes are in an unenviable spot. Only four teams in NHL history have rallied to win a series in which they trailed 3-0. The Kings did it to the Sharks in 2014 — and Carolina captain Justin Williams was on that Los Angeles team.

“I’m probably going to give you … the cliches that are going to be thrown to you and everything,” Williams said.

Joedy McCreary is an Associated Press writer.

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