The Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins open the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday in Game 1 at TD Garden in Boston. There is one team who was expected to go far in the playoffs and another who many had missing the entire playoffs. Nothing was a sure thing for the Hurricanes in the last week of the regular season.
They were going to battle with the Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets and Hurricanes got in, while the Canes are the only team last standing. Carolina and Boston are the only clubs left in the Eastern Conference, while contenders like the Capitals, Lightning, and Leafs are all gone. The most surprising of the three was the Lightning who suffered a sweep by the Blue Jackets in the first-round.
The Bruins had some stiff competition in the conference, but they were a fancy pick to make it out of the Eastern Conference alive.
They have a talented team with a mix of young talent and experienced veterans. The vets know what it takes to win, while the younger lets do their part to keep pace with fast teams. The Bruins are certainly the most physical team left in the playoffs. It has been a major accomplishment for the Hurricanes to get this far to begin with.
Anything else is a bonus now. It’s impressive what they’ve done, though the Bruins are a team that they haven’t seen in the playoffs until this point. The Islanders were largely backed by an incredible goaltender, and while their defence was good, they didn’t have the gritty play that the Bruins are known for. There are some pesks on the Bruins, notably Brad Marchand who does so many things well, which includes getting underneath his opponent’s skin. Head below for our free Hurricanes vs. Bruins Game 1 pick of the Eastern Conference Final.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins Game 1 Pick:
Brad Marchand is the epitome of the saying a player guys love to play with and hate to play against. If you’re a Bruin fan he’s a lovable player, but you won’t find many other fans who describe him as lovable. What’s lost in his style of play is what a good player he is and offensive facilitator. He leads the Bruins into the Eastern Conference Final against a Hurricanes team that they’ve already beaten twice this season. The Hurricanes took one of the three games, which came at home in Raleigh. Other than that game, the Hurricanes haven’t matched up well with the Bruins. Note that Boston is 5-1 against the Hurricanes in their previous six meetings.
The Hurricanes haven’t had a good time in Boston either, where they are 0-4 in their last four games against the Bruins in Boston. In other words, TD Garden hasn’t been too friendly to the Canes and they have had difficulties overall. However, this looks like a different Hurricanes team and they just knocked off the Capitals and Islanders, so it might be different in the playoffs.
Tuukka Rask has turned into a wall and the Hurricanes aren’t winning if he plays like that again. Rask is coming off a 39 save shutout against the Blue Jackets in Game 6. And while Petr Mrazek has been playing well too, he isn’t heading into Game 1 healthy. In fact, the Hurricanes have been readying Curtis McElhinney in case Rask can’t start. The Hurricanes are going to get some well deserved exposure in this series, but it won’t be easy against Boston. I like the Bruins to win a 4-2 or 3-2 contest in Game 1 to get the Eastern Conference Final underway.