The Carolina Hurricanes are back at it tonight in Massachusetts to face off against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Canes have lost two of their last three games, conceding five goals in each of the contests. Pyotr Kochetkov seems to be getting closer to game action but newly acquired, Spencer Martin, may make his Canes debut this evening.
The host this evening has the second most points in the NHL right now with 67, only second to the Vancouver Canucks who have 68 with one more game played. Nothing out of the ordinary as the Bruins have been at the top of the league for the recent past.
More bad news for Carolina is that the Bruins have the best record at home and the Canes have struggled on the road with a 12-10-1 record this season.
This year has been a changing of the guard in a way for the Bruins as Brad Marchand has taken the captaincy after Patrice Bergeron retired. Additionally, David Krejci also retired. Both were big contributors to the organization in the last decade, including the Stanley Cup win.
Still leading the way for the Bruins is David Pastrnak with 30 goals and 67 points, which would be a top season for most players but Pastrnak still has the second half to complete. As mentioned before, the new captain has 21 goals and 44 points. Along with the scoring, he can get under any opponent's skin.
Centers Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle have provided solid secondary support to this forward group. Both play an all around style to the game while having 27 goals scored combined.
On defense, Charlie McAvoy leads the way with 6 goals and 30 points. Having missed some time with an injury, the Long Island native is shaking off the rust and anchoring the power play with 4 goals.
The backbone of the team is goaltending and that is plural. Boston has the best goaltending tandem with Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. Swayman has played 26 games and Ullmark has 22 games played.
With a combined 29 wins a GAA of 2.61 and a save percentage of .918, the game is sure to be low scoring.
The Canes will need to quiet the home crowd early with strong play in the offensive zone and a quick goal. Having traffic in front of the net will be important with the goaltending in Boston. The real challenge will be keeping the Bruins off the scoresheet. Martin will have his hands full but will benefit from a far better defense in front of him than he had in Columbus.