By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Maybe it didn’t quite feel like hockey was all the way back when you watched the Bruins play in some low-stakes round-robin games last week. After Wednesday morning and early afternoon was filled with the high-intensity playoff hockey you’re accustomed to seeing, you should feel differently.

The Bruins and Hurricanes battled for 121 minutes on Wednesday. While that number may pale in comparison to the 75,000 minutes played by the Lightning and Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, it nevertheless was a tremendous display of playoff hockey — an effort that didn’t go wasted, thanks to Patrice Bergeron’s goal 1:13 into the second overtime period.

When the Bruins envisioned the start of their postseason run in the Toronto bubble, they likely didn’t picture a game starting at 11 a.m. … but they did likely picture coming away with a victory.

That mission was accomplished due to a very thorough effort from the top of the roster to the bottom. That being said, nothing’s ever perfect. So here’s a quick-hit run through the highs and lows from the Bruins’ 4-3 double-OT win over the Hurricanes.

High: Winning

Duh. Goes without saying. But I’m saying it. Why**? Because the Bruins could have very easily been victimized by a bad bounce on choppy ice in double overtime, thus rendering all of that work useless. Coming away with a victory from those long, loooong hockey games does wonders for morale, especially with no days off before Game 2.

**I’m also asking myself rhetorical questions. You’re just going to have to deal with it.

Low: Power Play

The Bruins were gifted a power play late in overtime when Brady Skej had his hand near Charlie Coyle’s midsection as Coyle lost his footing. It was an unfortunate break for Carolina … but not really. The Bruins’ power play was no bueno in this one.

Not only did the Bruins go 0-for-4 with the man advantage, but they struggled to even get the puck into Carolina’s zone while on the power play. As a result, the Bruins got just three shots on goal on their four power plays.

Making that hurt doubly or even triply is the fact that they gave up a shorthanded breakaway, thanks to a careless pass at the blue line by David Pastrnak. Brock McGinn cashed in on that opportunity, turning a potential game-winning series of events for Boston into a game-tying situation for Carolina.

Those zone entries will need to be a whole lot better if the Bruins hope to get back to being the team with the second-best power play in all of the NHL, which they were a million years ago during the regular season.

High: David Krejci

One of the more underappreciated players in the NHL, Krejci’s wizardry was on display all day long. He also scored a pretty critical goal, one which required his trademark patience to stickhandle around a scrambling Petr Mrazek.

The goal wasn’t even the most impressive part of Krejci’s day, though. The man was leaving sauce all over the place.

I mean, look at this:

Cool. Now look at this:

What?

Check this one out, too:

Stop it.

David Krejci is a wizard. That is all.

Low: Tuukka Rask

The netminder didn’t have a bad game. But he didn’t have an above-average game, and that’s something he’s yet to have since arriving in Toronto.

Tuukka allowed three goals on just 28 shots faced, and from a statistical standpoint, that stinks. It was amplified, too, by Mrazek doing handstands on the other end of the ice, no doubt.

That’s not to say that the degree of difficulty on any of the goals allowed was easy, though. Hardly. On the game-tying goal in the third, Rask didn’t see it until it was basically past him.

Did that get tipped, too? Hard to tell. Regardless, it’s tough to save what you can’t see.

But the first goal? Ehhhhh.

Methinks Tuukka would say he’d like to have another crack at that one. (He wasn’t made available to the media via Zoom after the game). But chalk it up to morning sleepies after a weird night waiting and waiting and waiting, only to be told to go to bed and wake up and play a playoff game. (You could also blame some meandering play in the defensive zone by Nick Ritchie if you’d prefer, too.)

And while the second one was obviously a nice move on a breakaway from McGinn …

… it would have been a wonderful time for Rask to equal McGinn in that moment and make a big-time save to bail out his power play (and, in retrospect, save his team from lying 20-plus extra minutes of hockey.)

Rask did make some important stops, the largest of which was a point-blank save on Jacob Slavin in overtime, so it was far from a catastrophe. But with three full games now under his belt in the NHL’s restart, Rask has yet to regain that Vezina form. He may have to wait to get his next chance, too, as Cassidy will surely think long and hard about starting Jaroslav Halak in Game 2 on Thursday night.

High: The Top Line Is Back.

It’s, uhh, fairly important for the Bruins’ top line to produce. They were moderately important to the success of the team from October through March.

Fortunately for them, they snapped out of their mini-funk by scoring the first and last goal for Boston in this one.

It’s too soon to declare them to be “back,” technically. But also … they’re back. Factually speaking.

Low: Some Not-So-Great Penalties

Ondrej Kase lost his stick and then decided to grab Dougie Hamilton, who was about 200 feet from the Boston net. It wasn’t a great idea. Charlie Coyle drew a penalty by eating a high stick from Jordan Staal; he instantly negated the would-be penalty by losing control of his own stick and high-sticking Staal right back. Jeremy Lauzon got grabby with his free hand and went to the box in the third, too.

The penalty kill did its job, of course, helping to lessen the sting of those penalties. But those are the penalties the Bruins will want to clean up as they acclimate to the speed of playoff hockey.

High: This One Play By Charlie McAvoy

This one probably was forgotten by most as soon as it happened, but this was a big play. Warren Foegele had an open net staring him in the face as a pass headed toward his stick, but McAvoy alertly recognized the situation and bothered Foegele juuuuust enough to disrupt any shot attempt from materializing.

That play right there prevented the city of Boston and the greater New England area from having to wonder how and why the Bruins outshot the Hurricanes 2-to-1 but still lost the hockey game.

Low: DeBrusk

I mean. We’re not piling on here. But yikes.

He should find that broken stick and hold a stick-burning ceremony outside the team hotel on Wednesday night. No better way to get things going than a classic seance.

High: Shot Blocking

Blocking a shot is not much fun. But this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and if you’re not willing to hurl your body in front of flying rubber, then you need to go home. The Bruins showed they’d like to stay in Toronto, blocking 30 shot attempts from the Hurricanes.

That involved the usual suspects — fourth-line winger Joakim Nordstrom led the team with five blocks — but also included superstar David Pastrnak giving himself up to block a shot from a prime scoring area.

Pastrnak looked like he has some experience playing net in street hockey with that one, and it was awfully helpful too.

High/Low: The Second Goal Situation

We all want to understand rules, and the Bruins’ second goal of the game didn’t help us much to understand the rules.

If you missed it: There was a jump ball, like a basketball tip-off, but it involved hockey players. Pretty cool, huh?! Three players jumped to try to bat a puck out of the air. Nobody knows who touched it last, but Mrazek did his best to cover up the loose puck. He … succeeded? Right? Didn’t he? But he didn’t for long, as Nick Ritchie whacked at the goaltender’s glove and knocked the puck free. It happened to go right to Charlie Coyle, who scored into the empty net to give Boston a 2-1 lead.

Rod Brind’Amour hated it, so he challenged it, asserting that the officials missed a stoppage. He lost, but he didn’t really, because his team then scored while shorthanded. Brind’Amour seemingly screamed at the officials after that shorty, which has to be an absolutely terrifying experience for the men in stripes. (Brind’Amour is YOKED.)

The coach ranted and raved about it after the game, too, which happens this time of year. Does he have a point? Sure does. The NHL doesn’t do itself any favors with its “explanations” for these decisions, which leads to head coaches referring to the league as “a joke” after playoff games. Nobody wins in that scenario … except the Bruins, who caught somewhat of a break here.

High: Brandon Carlo

Can you imagine giving up the Michigan move in a playoff game? I sure can’t.

Brandon Carlo made sure it didn’t happen.

High: No Waiting Around For Game 2

Waiting stinks. We all had to wait forever on Tuesday night. Fortunately, there’s basically no wait time for Game 2, which will be Thursday night (as long as the 3 p.m. Jackets-Lightning game doesn’t go to 40 overtimes again). That’s good. We did enough waiting from the middle of March through the start of August for sports. Let’s keep ’em coming here. You can’t get that distinct brand of excitement anywhere else.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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