NHL Eastern Conference Finals – Bruins vs Hurricanes
The Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes faced off three times during the 2018-2019 NHL season. The Bruins took the season series two games to one, winning the rubber match in overtime on Mar. 5.
Now, the teams will cross paths at the Eastern Conference Finals to see which among them will represent the conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Which of these two proud franchises will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals? Nitrogen Sports Blog takes a deep dive at the upcoming Hurricanes-Bruins NHL Eastern Conference Finals showdown.
The outlook for the Boston Bruins
The Bruins will be forced to start the NHL Eastern Conference Finals sans a defenseman. Charlie McAvoy was hit with a suspension for his illegal hit to the head on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson.
The Bruins will surely miss McAvoy’s physical play, but the team’s blue line is deep and talented, so they should be able to weather the absence of the young defenseman.
The Bruins are heading into this series with the most important players on fire. Although getting off to a slow offensive start against Columbus, The Bruins top line broke out with six goals and five assists in Games 4 and 5.
All-Star forward Brad Marchand has been the most productive Bruins on offense with five goals and eight assists in the first two rounds.
On defense, goalie Tuukka Rask added to his stellar playoff performance with a shutout to cap off the series against the Blue Jackets. He leads all netminders with at least four starts in the playoffs with a .938 saves percentage to go with a 2.02 goals against average.
The Carolina Hurricanes’ offense is going to be a problem
The Hurricanes had a much easier time dispatching their opponents in the second round, sweeping the New York Islanders in four games.
After the Isles beat Sidney Crosby and his perennial Stanley Cup contenders Pittsburgh Penguins, experts were ready to take the sleepers label off of the Islanders — until the Hurricanes wreaked havoc and left New York’s spirits in tatters.
Goalies Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney split duties for the ‘Canes during the regular season, and it could be the case again in the NHL Eastern Conference Finals.
After Mrazek seemed to grab the full-time role in the playoffs, an injury forced him to the bench. But McElhinney stepped up big time for the Hurricanes to shut down the Islanders.
McElhinney’s performance gives Carolina’s coach Rod Brind’amour a tough decision heading into the conference finals.
Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen carried the Hurricanes offensively throughout the regular season. The pair has led Carolina deep into the playoffs, and both forwards fared well against the Bruins in the regular season. The duo contributed big time into the Hurricanes 5-3 win over the Bruins back in December with a combined four points.
As for the entire team, the Hurricanes’ offense has been prolific in the playoffs, ranking second among all postseason teams and tops among all surviving clubs with an average of 3.09 goals per contest.
The Hurricanes generate plenty of scoring chances thanks to their aggressiveness in the possession battle. They have a 56.68 shot attempts percentage, which is No. 1 in the playoffs.
Not many people thought prior to the playoffs that the 2019 NHL Eastern Conference Finals will feature a Bruins vs. Hurricanes matchup. Also, we know that there are a lot of hockey fans out there who want to bet bitcoin on this series — and on sports in general.
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