Tale of the Tape: Bruins Take On Surging Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 13: Zdeno Chara
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 13: Zdeno Chara /

The Boston Bruins return to action tonight looking to extend their current point streak to 17 games. The “bunch of jerks” from Carolina roll into town, riding a 5-game win streak, and have been red-hot since December 30th going 21-6-1 while outscoring opponents 105-68 during that span. Tonight’s game may bring some Bruins fans back in time, as the Hurricanes will be rocking the old Hartford Whalers uniforms. This will mark the second time that the Hurricanes have donned this new (old) look vs the Bruins. They wore them back on December 23rd’s 5-3 victory over the B’s.

Tonight’s goaltending matchup sees Jaroslav Halak take the crease. Halak comes into this tilt riding a 4-game win streak, which includes a shutout win and a 1.00 goals against average. With points still at a premium for a Bruins team looking to secure home ice in the first round of the playoffs, they will need continued success from their backup, who is 17-9-4 on the season.  200 feet away, Petr Mrazek is expected to get the start in goal for the Canes. Mrazek is coming off of a 4-3 overtime win over the Florida Panthers, where he made a great game saving poke check on Jonathan Huberdeau in overtime. Mrazek also enters this game on a 4-game win streak and has been a solid option in net for the Hurricanes who sit third in the Metropolitan Division.

A key to success for the B’s this evening will be their ability to keep the foot on the gas and drive the play to their opponents. The Hurricanes are the best in the league at eliminating team’s shots on goal, where they have held opponents to 28.1 shots per game. Equally impressive, the Canes lead the league in shots on goal per game averaging 34.1 pucks on net. This could be a difficult task for a Bruins team who is putting a lot of pucks on opposing team’s nets while taking care of their own crease. Regardless of the point streak, tonight’s game is bound to be a tough one for the Bruins and they cannot get away from the game plan that has them as the league’s hottest team.

Another challenge for the Bruins will be containing Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho, who continues to rip it up along side Nino Niederreiter.  Aho has 73 points in 65 games this season and has continued to be one of the game’s best young talents. It will be interesting to see if Bruce Cassidy will continue the trend of matching the fourth line against their opponent’s top lines, thus freeing the Bergeron trio who will look to continue their success.

David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly and Kevan Miller will again be out of the lineup tonight as coach Cassidy offered up an update on his injured players. Pastrnak is on schedule in his recovery from a thumb injury and should be still considered week to week. Kuraly, who was skating at yesterday’s practice in a red no-contact jersey, is aiming to return on Thursday against the Panthers barring any setbacks. The bad news of yesterday’s updates was about Miller, who Cassidy said received “bad news” regarding his MRI and has went from day to day to week to week.

While injuries have piled up a lot this season for the Bruins, they continue to battle through it. If they wish to build on the one point cushion they have in the standings over the Leafs and obtain home ice advantage, they will need to continue to take the one game at a time approach and get as many points as possible down the final 17 games of the season. Can they continue the streak? Let me know in the comments section below!