After losing their first three games in the NHL’s return to play series the Boston Bruins secured the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Bruins will match up against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first round. After defeating the New York Rangers in three games during the play-in round the Hurricanes earned a playoff spot. Will the Hurricanes defeat the Bruins in the 2019 playoff rematch and keep the storm surge going or will the Bruins battle and claw their way to victory again?
The Series Schedule
Game 1: Tuesday, August 11 at 8:00 P.M. Est
Game 2: Thursday, August 13 at 8:30 P.M. Est
Game 3: Saturday, August 15 at 12 P.M. Est
Game 4: Monday, August 17 at 8 P.M. Est
(If necessary) Game 5: Wednesday, August 19 at TBD
(If necessary) Game 6: Thursday, August 20 at TBD
(If necessary) Game 7: Sunday, August 23 at TBd
What do the Bruins need to Win?
The Bruins had a tough time during the round-robin tournament to produce offense. If the bruins want to defeat the strong defense of the Hurricanes then they need to find the regular season form of their offense. The Bruins scored 227 during the regular season including 48 from David Pastrnak. Pastrnak and the rest of the Bruins “perfection line” will look to return to their goal-scoring ways of the regular season. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are the other members of the perfection line and they will also look improve on their play from the round-robin tournament.
On the defensive side the Bruins will lean on Charlie Mcavoy and Brendan Carlo to try and shut down the skilled forwards Carolina has on their roster. Jeremy Lauzon is also on the Bruins back end and he is not afraid to get physical or mix it up with any player on the Hurricanes.
Tuukka Rask is back in the Bruins crease and will look to return to his dominant self. During the regular season, Rask posted a .929% save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against average. If the Bruins are going to win then Rask will have to be on top of his game and making the clutch saves.
How could Boston lose round one
The Hurricanes are better than the Bruins in one area of their game. The Bruins and Hurricanes both have very good defensive depth but the Hurricanes defense is just a bit better. The Hurricanes were one of the best defensive teams in the first half of the regular season with a defense that included both Dougie Hamilton and Jacob Slavin. Slavin and Hamilton are also both shutdown defenseman that the Bruins will struggle to get scoring chances on.
At the trade deadline, the Hurricanes increased their defensive depth by adding Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen. Vatanen and Skjei are both very good defensively but the true value comes in the offensive zone. These two-way defensemen will help the puck stay out of the Hurricanes net while putting the puck into the Bruins net.
The Bruins have the better offense and goaltending than the Hurricanes and this will carry them to a series victory in six games. The Bruins offense will also be too much for the Hurricanes defense to handle leading to the Bruins eventual series victory.
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