RALEIGH, N.C. -- Try as they might, the Carolina Hurricanes can't beat the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins pushed the Canes to the brink of elimination Tuesday in the Eastern Conference finals, getting another tremendous game in net from goalie Tuukka Rask responding to every challenge and taking a 2-1 victory in Game 3 at PNC Arena.
The unpleasant truth for the Canes is that the Bruins have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Either win the next four games, starting with Game 4 on Thursday, or a Canes' season that has had so many exciting, memorable moments will end.
After the Bruins' two wins in Boston, the playoff series shifted to Raleigh. The Canes made a goaltender change, going with Curtis McElhinney instead of Petr Mrazek, only to have Rask stand tall with 35 saves as Carolina lost at home for the first time in the playoffs.
Chris Wagner and Brad Marchand scored in the second period, staking the Bruins to a 2-0 lead. The Canes, stifled and frustrated by Rask much of the night, got a goal from an unlikely source -- defenseman Calvin de Haan -- to make it 2-1 game after two periods.
While the Bruins scored twice in the first 6:28 of the second, Rask may have won the game in the 20 minutes that made up the first period. The Canes had 20 shots on net in the first. Of those, 12 came on four power plays -- including a 5 on 3 -- as the Canes swarmed around the crease, looking to bat, smack or whack something past Rask.
Nothing did in the first -- Rask was 20 for 20. The Bruins' penalty killers were active, but Rask was the ultimate stopper, just as he was in the first two games of the series.
The Canes' biggest miss might have come 18 seconds into the game. A quick diagonal pass set up Teuvo Teravainen with a look at an open net with Rask out of position but Teravainen was wide with his shot.
If that shot goes in, the building would have been shaking. Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly already had the crowd at full throat with his crank of the warning siren before the game and a quick goal by the Canes would have created some real thunder.
The Canes were active throughout the first and captain Justin Williams a little too active. Caught up with defenseman Torey Krug in their own game-within-the-game, Williams was called for three penalties in the period -- roughing, holding the stick and elbowing -- while Krug twice went to the box for roughing.