Tonight the Carolina Hurricanes will host the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins. Carolina is looking to pick up their third victory in a row after back-to-back, home-and-home victories against the Buffalo Sabres. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins are looking to gain another two points, after earning 7 out of a possible 8 in their past five games.
The Hurricanes are coming off of a 3-1 victory against Buffalo at the First Niagra Center thanks to goals from Jeff Skinner, Jay Harrison and Alex Semin. Skinner is pacing the team with four goals in as many games this season, meanwhile captain Eric Staal comes in a close second with three goals, despite leading the team with shots on net.
After what appeared to be a very rusty team post-lockout, the Carolina Hurricanes seem to have found their game in the past two events, posting a total of 9 goals combined in the past 120 minutes of play. In each of the four games teh Canes have played in thus far, they have outshot their opponent in every one, averaging a league-best 39.5 shots per game.
“We have the firepower in here that we can score goals,” Muller said. “But make sure that we put defense ahead of offense.”(via Hurricanes.com)
Know Thy Enemy: Boston Bruins
Last season the Bruins came out to one of the worst starts in the league after winning only two games through the entire month of October, suffering from the proverbial “Cup Hangover.” This season, the team has a 4-1-0 record to start off with, their only loss coming in overtime to the New York Rangers.
While a majority of teams around the NHL were sweet talking free agents and signing big name players to boost morale and fans, the Boston Bruins remained quite. They signed their major players from their Cup run in 2011 and kept their core together, instilling a strong offensive front that a lot of teams in the Conference are unable to match. The depth and productivity of the Bruins offensive lines pose as a key threat to the Canes, who are finding their way with their new additions, but still have some flaws to work through.
The Bruins fourth line contributed two of the four goals scored in the team’s last game on Friday, and have been a key asset to the Bruins victories. Their other secret weapon: penalty kills. The Bruins PK unit is perfect, going 17/17 in the last five games.
Anton Khudobin is expected to get the nod in net for Boston as number one goaltender Tuukka Rask has starred in the first five games for Boston this season, taking the place of Tim Thomas who opted to sit this season out to focus on ‘faith, friends and family.’
The Hurricanes could potentially be without their key defenseman Justin Faulk. Faulk left Friday’s game against the Sabres in the second period, suffering from what appeared to be an upper body injury. He did practice with the team on Sunday, but is expected to be a game-time decision. For the Bruins, they will also be without a defenseman as Adam McQuaid missed the team practice Sunday morning and did not travel with the team due to personal reasons.