1. Discipline and Powerplay Scoring
The Rangers were around the same level as the Hurricanes on the powerplay and their kill was absolutely abysmal during the regular season. The same cannot be said about the powerhouse Boston Bruins.
The three round-robin games aside, this is still the most dangerous team in the league that managed to win the President’s Trophy. But they did that by being dominant on both sides of the special teams.
The Bruins finished the shortened season as both the second-best powerplay behind the Edmonton Oilers and the second-best penalty kill behind the San Jose Sharks. The Carolina Hurricanes had the eighth-best powerplay and the fourth-best penalty kill in comparison.
That means the Hurricanes will have to be on their best behavior and avoid the box as much as humanly possible to keep the Bruins from flexing their ability to score on the powerplay while also maximizing their powerplay advantages to get as much scoring as their top powerplay lines can manage. Having Dougie Hamilton back in the line-up will go a long way towards that.
If they can manage that, they can keep the Bruins on their heels and use their self-generated energy, the same energy we saw against the Rangers, to focus their offense and force the Bruins to make the mistakes needed to own the game and hopefully the series.
But that starts by getting some vulcanized rubber behind a very good Finnish goalie.