The NHL is set up with a solid slate of games on Saturday. Four games will be up on the board throughout the day. To kick off the day of action, the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes will meet in Game 3 of their series. These two teams have split the series so far, which should lead to an exciting pivotal Game 3. The puck will drop at around 12:00 PM Eastern time on NBC.
The Bruins finished out the regular season with a record of 44-14-12, which had them on top of the Eastern Conference. Boston then proceeded to go 0-3 throughout the round robin, which put them in as the fourth seed in the East. The Bruins are now tied with the Carolina Hurricanes in this series and will look to get back on top with a win.
Carolina earned a record of 38-25-5 throughout the regular season, which had them in sixth place of the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes met up with the New York Rangers in the Qualifying round, where they knocked them out in three games. Carolina is now tied 1-1 with the Bruins, who knocked them out in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Hurricanes will look to take the lead as they look for some revenge.
These two teams have split the series so far and I expect this series to stay tight as it gets further along. The Bruins and the Hurricanes had good seasons and were expected contenders for the Stanley Cup this season. Now only one of the two teams can move past the first round, so expect an intense matchup as both teams look for a huge win.
Boston and Carolina met up once throughout the regular season, in Boston on December 3. The Bruins and the Hurricanes played a tight first two periods as it was tied 0-0 going into the third. Charlie Coyle and David Krejci both scored for Boston to help give the Bruins the win. Jaroslav Halak stopped all 24 shots he faced to help Boston win 2-0 at home.
The first game of this series was back on August 12. Joel Edmundson, Haydn Fleury and Brock McGinn all scored for Carolina to keep this game close. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak both finished with two points, including assists on the game winner. Patrice Bergeron scored a minute into double overtime to help propel the Bruins to a 4-3 win.
The second game of the series was on the night of August 13. Brad Marchand had another solid night, registering a goal and an assist. Andrei Svechnikov also had a goal and an assist to keep the game at 2-2 going into the third period. Dougie Hamilton scored in the third to give the Hurricanes the much needed win. James Reimer stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced as Carolina won 3-2.
These two teams have played a lot of exciting matchups throughout the playoff series and the regular season. None of these games have had a runaway winner and it should lead to another exciting one in Game 3. Carolina found some groove to their game in the third period of Game 2, so expect them to try and bring that momentum over with them.
The Bruins had a great regular season when it came to special teams. Boston capitalized on 25.2 percent of their power play chances, while killing off 84.2 percent of the penalties against them. In the playoffs, the Bruins have earned a power play percentage of 12.5. Boston’s penalty kill rate has been sitting at around an 83.3 percent.
Carolina also had a strong season when it came to special teams. The Hurricanes scored on 22.4 percent of their power play opportunities. Carolina also killed off 84 percent of the penalties against them. The Hurricanes power play has capitalized on 15 percent of their attempts throughout the playoffs, while killing off 85.7 percent of the penalties against them.
These two teams had really strong power plays throughout the regular season, but have not quite found a rhythm since the season restarted. The Bruins finally found some success, scoring both goals in Thursday night’s game on the power play. Now Boston will look to keep the power play going, while Carolina will look to keep it shut down.
Tuukka Rask will get the nod in net for the Bruins on Saturday morning. Rask finished out the regular season with a record of 26-8-6, which helped earn him a Vezina Trophy nomination. He put up a save percentage of .929 and a 2.12 GAA throughout the regular season. Rask has put up a .904 save percentage with a GAA of 2.57 since the postseason started.
I expect James Reimer to get the start in crease for the Hurricanes in this one. Reimer earned a record of 14-6-2 throughout the regular season. In the regular season, he earned a save percentage of .914 and a GAA of 2.66. Reimer has started two games in the playoffs, posting a .959 save percentage and a 1.50 GAA. Reimer will look to pick up where he left off in Game 2 of this series.
These two goalies have had strong regular seasons, but the Hurricanes have had more steady goaltending since the playoffs began. Carolina will look for Reimer to put up another strong performance after getting the surprise start on Wednesday. Mrazek could be back in net for this one and if so, he has had a great season as well.
The Hurricanes are coming off an impressive bounce back win in Game 2 of this series. Carolina had lost the previous morning, but still was able to shake it off and earn a big win in this one. Boston will look for Rask to be more solid in net in this one. If the Hurricanes can have another strong attack in this one, I think it will help them earn the leg up in the series.
BetOnline has Boston listed as a -118 against the money line in this game. This implies that the Bruins will win this game around 54.1 percent of the time. I believe that this line should be closer to even with how the first two games went. Now Carolina has the last change being the “home team”. I really like the Hurricanes in this one and as underdogs, I think they are a great pick.