For the fifth time in Carolina Hurricanes historical past – and the third within the final 4 years – the Boston Bruins stand in the way in which of advancing within the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s a rivalry that dates again to the franchise’s roots in Hartford, however even with out their shared New England residence this matchup would resonate based mostly on playoff conferences.
The first two occurred in a distinct lifetime, the primary in 1998, with Boston successful in 6 video games within the opening spherical. 11 years later, the Hurricanes surprised the Bruins within the convention semi finals on a Game 7 time beyond regulation rebound objective from Scott Walker.
It was the final word insult to damage for the Boston devoted as Walker would turn into infamous in Boston for extra than simply the objective.
The final two conferences have appeared one-sided. And, when it comes to the scoreboard, there’s no denying that reality. In 2019, within the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston swept the Hurricanes in a sequence that is likely to be remembered for Brad Marchand’s mocking of Canes captain Justin Williams.
But, that sequence may need gone in a distinct course had the Canes completed the job in a Game 1 by which they held the lead within the third interval. Alas, they didn’t and the Bruins in the end received the sequence because of a 7-1 edge in energy play objectives. The following season, within the Toronto bubble, it was a extra evenly performed sequence albeit with the identical outcome. The Bruins superior in 5 video games.
Two years later, separated by a pandemic season by which the 2 groups by no means performed, the Hurricanes acquired the higher of the Bruins in an enormous manner. Carolina swept the season sequence 3-0-0, outscoring Boston 15-1 (5-1 on the ability play) within the course of. Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov mixed for 16 factors (6g, 10a) within the sweep whereas Frederik Andersen stopped 98 of the 99 pictures he noticed.
None of that issues a lick proper now. Especially the Andersen portion of the equation as Carolina’s prime goaltender will not be anticipated again till the latter portion of this sequence, if that. Andersen nonetheless has not skated since struggling a decrease physique damage three weeks in the past in Colorado forcing head coach Rod Brind’Amour to resolve between veteran backup Antti Raanta and precocious rookie Pyotr Kochetkov for Game 1.
In web for the Bruins will both be Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman. Statistically talking, there’s little distinction between the 2 as they’re each greater than succesful goaltenders backing up among the best defensive groups within the league. Each has began 39 video games this 12 months with Ullmark having a slight edge in save proportion (.917 to .914) and Goals Saved Above Average (a metric that judges what number of objectives you forestall over an the NHL common) at 10.8.
The distinction on this sequence is probably going going to be decided down the center. These are two of the most effective face off groups within the league. Boston was third greatest this 12 months at 54.2% with the Hurricanes subsequent greatest at 53.9%. Patrice Bergeron was the most effective within the league within the circle, successful greater than 900 attracts and 61.9% general. Jordan Staal was comfortably within the prime 10 at 57.3%.
After Bergeron, Erik Haula (53.9%), Charlie Coyle (49.1%) and Thomas Nosek (53.8%) ought to line up behind Bergeron, whereas Vincent Trocheck (54.6), Sebastian Aho (52.4) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (51.2) comply with their captain.
The Bruins are nonetheless led by Bergeron, Brad Marchand (32 objectives and 80 factors in 70 video games) and David Patrnak, who led the workforce with 40 objectives in 72 video games this 12 months. Jake DeBrusk went from asking for a commerce to scoring 18 objectives in his closing 34 video games. He ended the 12 months with 25 objectives and has been “a first line player every night” in line with his head coach, Bruce Cassidy.
Maybe that’s what you get if you play with Bergeron and Marchand each evening. Or, perhaps Martin Necas ought to demand a commerce.
Worth watching is that Necas has not practiced for the reason that season finale. Brind’Amour known as it relaxation, as Svechnikov and Max Domi have been additionally on that very same “rest” checklist. But, the Hurricanes have ahead depth to cowl the absense of Necas if he is unable to get to the submit for the opener. That is not to say that he is disposable. Martin has turn into one of many Canes’ prime penalty killing forwards, performs on the second energy play unit and has game-changing pace and ability. Plus, paired with Kotkaniemi on a 4th linehe ought to pose issues for in opposition to backside pair six forwards and the final two defensemen.
Series line: Carolina -115/Boston -105. Game 1: Carolina -120/Boston Even. O/U: 5.5 objectives.
Game 1 is Monday at 7:00 with protection beginning on 99.9 the Fan at 6:00 with a particular, 1-hour version of Storm Watch w/Dennis Cox. All postseason video games can be preceded by a 1-hour pregame present and the primary three video games are all scheduled for a 7:00 begin. Game 2 can be Wednesday at PNC Arena with the sequence shifting to Boston for video games 3 and 4, Friday and Sunday.
Sunday’s sport is ready for a 12:30 face off. If essential, video games 5-7 are scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Follow the Canes Corner Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. There’s a brand new episode that drops the #MorningAfter each Hurricanes sport.