Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Boston Bruins Game Day Stanley Cup playoff preview:
Boston Bruins (51-26-5, 107 pts) vs Carolina Hurricanes (54-20-8-116 pts) in Game 1 of their first round series with things at 0-0.
TIME: 7:00 PM ET
TV: NESN, Bally Sports
The Boston Bruins are in Carolina readying for the Monday night start to their first round playoff series with Game 1 set for the PNC Center. The Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes will have now faced each other three times in the last four postseasons when the series gets started on Monday night with the B’s advancing in each of the last two meetings.
It could be a little different this time around, however, with the Metro Division champion Hurricanes standing as the favorite in the series, and the Boston Bruins serving as the underdogs after entering the postseason as a wild card team.
It’s a Hurricanes team that outscored the Boston Bruins by a 16-1 margin in their three regular season meetings this year, but one that the B’s feel like they’ll be more ready for the next time around in the postseason. Certainly, the numbers bear out that it’s going to be a tight series for a pair of hockey teams in the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes that play good defensive, benefit from good goaltending and score just enough on offense to be considered dangerous in a playoff series.
“Strong team, obviously. They had their way with us this year. Some of that was a while ago and our team is in a much better place than when we played them earlier in the year,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, referencing the fact that the Bruins and Hurricanes haven’t played each other since mid-February. “We’re not going to take too much stock in that. We have had some success against them in the playoffs recently. Two different teams, so you can’t take too much stock in that either other than it builds some experience for you.
“I’ve said it no matter who we got, Carolina, Toronto, last week New York was in the mix or even Tampa, they’re all good teams and have certain strengths. We expect Carolina to be a difficult opponent. They press, they’re a great skating team and they check well. We feel we can do the same thing, so it should be a great series.”
The Bruins have announced Linus Ullmark as their starter for Game 1 after he finished up April with an incredibly strong closing effort. Ullmark ended the season by ripping off five wins in his last six games and posted a 1.41 goals against average and .950 save percentage in seven games during the month of April, and essentially won any head-to-head competition with rookie Jeremy Swayman for which goalie would get first crack at the postseason.
The Carolina Hurricanes will be going with backup Antti Raanta (15-5-4, 2.45 goals against average and .912 save percentage) in his first Stanley Cup playoff start with Freddie Andersen injured and out of the mix to start the series.
Boston Bruins Notes
-Here’s a fun video to get all the Boston Bruins fans out there pumped about the Stanley Cup playoffs starting tonight. Some great cameo appearances in this one.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 2, 2022
-The Boston Bruins have added veteran Chris Wagner to the NHL roster for the Stanley Cup playoff run now that the salary cap is no longer in play. Wagner “earned his spot” with a strong regular season finale where he posted 11 registered hits and played a strong, spirited game that showed what he could still bring in a fourth line role if called upon. It’s something the Boston Bruins were pretty happy about across the board after Wagner played the good soldier role while saddled in the AHL for the entirety of this season.
“[Wagner] was patient about things. Not happy about things. But a really good soldier and leader, which was important for our organization. He just asking me that if he’s playing well and his game is at the top of it, is he a part of moving forward? I’ve always told him that ultimately, coach decides the lineup,” said Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “But that being said, if you’re playing your best, he’s going to put in the players that are going to help him win. Especially as the intensity ramps up and Chris can provide what he does.”
–The Boston Bruins got a flurry of power play goals in the last couple of games during the regular season, but it’s difficult to ignore the 0-for-39 stretch that the B’s power play endured for nearly the whole month of April as they’ll up against the NHL’s best penalty kill with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes killed 88 percent of the power plays that they faced during the regular season, a pretty daunting number.
-Boston Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly will be a healthy scratch, a situation that has unfolded for the veteran defenseman intermittently since Hampus Lindholm was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline.
Carolina Hurricanes Notes
-Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho continues to be the resident Boston Bruins killer with 10 goals and 16 points in 13 career games against the Black and Gold.
–Pyotr Kochetkov will sit behind Annti Raanta as the backup goaltender with Freddie Andersen remaining out due to a lower-body injury. The Hurricanes expect Andersen to return at some point in the series, but there’s still no clear timetable as to when that might happen.
-Andrei Svechnikov (Illness) and Martin Necas (rest) were both given last weekend off by the Hurricanes, but both forwards are expected to be in the lineup and ready to go on Monday night.
-Ethan Bear and Derek Stepan are expected to be healthy scratches for the Hurricanes when they start out the series against the Bruins.
Boston Bruins Lineup:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron– Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Nick Foligno – Tomáš Nosek – Curtis Lazar
Hampus Lindholm – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
Carolina Hurricanes Lineup:
Andrei Svechnikov — Sebastian Aho — Seth Jarvis
Max Domi — Vincent Trocheck — Teuvo Teravainen
Nino Niederreiter — Derek Stepan — Jesper Fast
Jordan Martinook — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Martin Necas
Jaccob Slavin — Tony DeAngelo
Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce
Ian Cole — Ethan Bear