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Hurricanes 6, Bruins 0

The shorthanded Bruins gifted the Hurricanes some goals, and couldn’t stop the bleeding

Thinking of the constant catch-22 that Brad Marchand presents whenever he’s on the ice brought a grin to the face of Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, even as the sting of a lopsided loss set in.

Marchand’s brand of hockey can get him into trouble — the kind that led to his eighth career suspension and kept him out of the lineup Thursday night at TD Garden against the Carolina Hurricanes — but it can also bring a much-needed edge.

“I talked about this with Marshy,” Cassidy said. “He’s a competitive guy — second and third effort. That passion, that’s why you get asked sometimes, ‘Well, how do you deal with it?’ Well, we don’t like when he’s suspended, but we sure as hell would rather have him out there with that kind of passion to pull us into the fight tonight, because there wasn’t much of that tonight.”

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With two-thirds of their top line out, the Bruins weren’t in a position to give away goals — let alone give away a game. But coming off back-to-back losses, the Hurricanes gladly took everything that came their way.

Not even a month after blowing out the Bruins 7-1, the Hurricanes caught the Bruins reeling from the losses of Marchand and Patrice Bergeron (head laceration) and handed them another beatdown.

The Bruins were shut out for just the third time this season in a 6-0 loss, their second straight defeat since returning from the All-Star break.

The Bruins will be without Marchand (their leading scorer) for six games, and they don’t have a timetable for Bergeron. But Cassidy said there’s enough experience to keep the team afloat in their absences.

“There’s leaders in that room,” Cassidy said. “There’s enough leaders. Charlie Coyle is as a leader. [Brandon] Carlo, [Charlie] McAvoy, [David] Pastrnak, we’ve put A’s on their sweaters. Taylor Hall has been an MVP. He’s 30 years old. These guys need to take charge in this situation. If they can’t see that, what’s in front of them, then shame on us. Honestly, I mean, it’s that simple.”

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Still, so many of the Hurricanes’ goals felt like gifts. They were up, 1-0, early in the second period when a too-good-to-be-true opportunity fell in the lap of right wing Andrei Svechnikov.

Carlo did his best to cut off Vincent Trocheck after watching him buzz through the Bruins’ zone with little resistance. Carlo managed to knock the puck away from Trocheck, but when Carlo tried to clear it, he didn’t get much on it.

The puck found Svechnikov in the slot, and he took care of the rest with a wrist shot from 33 feet that gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.

“Those are in-the-moment plays that, with guys that have been in the league, you just need them to be better, to have more composure, recognize situations,” Cassidy said. “It’s going to happen from time to time to any player, especially against a team that pressures you.

“But it happens too often to our group, and they’re just going to have to figure it out a little bit and we’re going to have to help them figure it out.”

It got worse from there.

Mike Reilly tried to survey the ice from behind the Bruins’ net midway through the second period. He decided to send it McAvoy’s direction, but McAvoy was covered. The puck went up the wall to Curtis Lazar, and Hurricanes defenseman Ethan Bear was there to jar the puck free. In a blink, Teuvo Teravainen recovered the puck and the Bruins were forced to stop a four on three. Teravainen found Martin Necas, who let one rip from outside the right circle. It bounced of goalie Linus Ullmark directly to Sebastian Aho, who converted for his 20th goal of the season and a 3-0 lead.

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Brett Pesce’s goal off a mad scramble at 14:02 put the Bruins in a 4-0 hole going into the third period, and not much firepower to climb out of it.

One of the Bruins’ few scoring chances came at the start of the third when Nick Foligno maneuvered around defenseman Brady Skjei and fired a wrist shot that goalie Frederick Andersen stopped with his chest. Foligno crashed into Andersen, knocked the puck free, and it went into the net as it came off its moorings.

Officials ruled it goaltender interference, and the call was upheld after a challenge by Cassidy.

The Bruins couldn’t stop the bleeding. Aho cashed in another goal at 1:58 of the third, and Jordan Staal added another at 15:24.

“We have to figure it out for [Bergeron and Marchand],” Foligno said. “They’ve done a lot of the dirty work for us all these years and they’re put in a lot of positions and given hard tasks. Now it’s on us to help them out and make sure that when they do get back in the lineup, we’re on the upward trajectory.”

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The Bruins lost all three meetings to the Hurricanes this season, being outscored 16-1, and Cassidy acknowledged that they’ll have to prove themselves against the league’s elite.

“If you want to advance, you’ve got to beat good teams, you’ve got to learn how to play against good teams,” he said. “I feel we lacked a little bit of that — the character, the instinct part, the digging in against good teams. It’s harder. It hurts to win. It’s harder and we don’t have enough, and we haven’t against some of those better teams.

“Now, sometimes a team is also just better than you in certain situations. Is that the case? That’s certainly a discussion point. Carolina clearly is. They’ve beat us three times ... so we have to obviously play better against them if we have any chance.”


Julian Benbow can be reached at julian.benbow@globe.com.