One of the more intriguing first-round playoff series will have the puck dropped Tuesday evening as the Boston Bruins do battle with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Many pundits are already pegging this series to be a tough one for the favoured Bruins, as they looked dismal in their return-to-play matches last week. Boston lost all three games, losing their hold atop the NHL and the coveted top-seed.
Now they’ll have to deal with a tough and in-form Hurricanes squad, likely nearing full health. Star defenseman, and former Bruin, Dougie Hamilton is slated to return to the ice shortly – a huge boon for an already stellar team. The Canes easily disposed of the Rangers in the Qualifying Round, and following disappointments in the post-season in consecutive years – it seems like this young Canes’ core is ready to take the leap.
Many figured this was Boston’s year for yet another Cup in Beantown – though their form certainly isn’t inspiring. Can they shake it off in time for Game 1 against a hungry Carolina squad? Read on beneath the posted odds for our take on the series opener, as well as our betting suggestion for the Bruins vs. Hurricanes.
Bruins vs. Hurricanes Betting Odds:
Boston Bruins (-134)
Carolina Hurricanes (+121)
Over 5.5 (+110)
Under 5.5 (-130)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Bruins vs. Hurricanes Pick:
Though Boston enters the more battle-tested and hardened squad, they seem a little overconfident entering Tuesday’s showdown vs. the Canes. Their notion that they can just ‘flip the switch’ and be fine seems flawed. This is a very veteran group that could struggle again, much like they did last week in the round robin.
While the Bruins have had many playoff successes in years past, their failures in the round robin have made this round a tough situation. Battling injuries and illness, the Bruins rarely had their full lineup, and without that familiarity there could be added growing pains early in the series vs. Carolina.
Meanwhile, the Canes look to be one of the best sides in the league at the moment. They’re certainly steady on defense, where Dougie Hamilton is expected to return. Beyond that, they seem perfectly equipped to deal with a team set-up like Boston. With the likes of Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin as a top pairing, that is a duo that can and should be able to definitely limit Boston’s top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron. And as we’ve seen before, if the ‘Perfection Line’ gets shut down – the Bruins are in trouble.
Carolina also is built well to stand with Boston’s perceived depth on lower lines. Nino Niederreiter, Vincent Trocheck, and Warren Foegele are excellent depth options – all of whom possess the necessary size and drive to compete with the grind Boston will likely impose on them.
Right now it seems as if the Bruins are getting too much respect based on their successes of the past. This is a team that seems ill-prepared for a quick restart, and expect the younger and hungrier legs of Carolina to pounce early. Their depth matches up fine with Boston, and with size on their back-end, they can nullify many of Boston’s perceived advantages. Roll with the underdog in Game 1.
Pick: Carolina 4-2