For the third time since the Hurricanes relocated to Carolina, the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes will meet in the playoffs.
Their first coming in 1999 where Boston defeated Carolina 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals, and the second in 2009 where the Carolina Hurricanes took down the Bruins in seven games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals; this was also the last time the Hurricanes made the playoffs.
When comparing these two teams, a few things are certain; Goaltending is by no means an issue for either team, and the Bruins have a significant edge over Carolina in Special Teams.
Tuukka Rask has recorded a .938 save percentage, a goals against average of 2.02, along with a shutout.
Rask is coming off a series where he stopped 131/137 shots, earning himself a series save percentage of .956.
Petr Mrazek has recorded a save percentage of .913, a goals against average of 2.22, on top of leading the playoffs with two shutouts; however at the moment it is unclear of who will be starting Game 1 as Mrazek is still dealing with a lower body injury.
Despite this, backup Goalie Curtis McElhinney has exceeded expectations, recording a save percentage of .947, and a goals against average of 1.56 in three games played this post season.
Shifting into Special Teams, the Bruins have the best power play in the playoffs with a success rate of 28.6 percent, the next highest of the other three teams remaining are the San Jose Sharks at 18.5 percent.
Carolina is even weaker on the power play, scoring on just 10.5 percent of their power play opportunities.
Boston even has the best penalty kill remaining with a kill rate of 83.8 percent, while the Hurricanes have a kill rate of 75 percent.
The last thing worth looking at in this series are the shots against per game.
The Carolina Hurricanes have the lowest of any remaining team for shots against per game facing on average 27.8 shots a game; the Bruins are facing on average 33.5 shots a game.
This leads me to believe that Carolina’s Defense led by Jaccob Slavin has a slight edge over Boston right now.
However, one of the final deciding factors in this series is the fact that Bergeron, Pastrnak, and Marchand came back to life in the final three games of the Columbus series recording 11 points combined as a line.
If this line stays hot, Rask continues to play at the level he has, and Boston dominates on special teams, I expect the Bruins to knock off the Hurricanes in six games.
Prediction: BOSTON 4-2
Puck drop for Game 1 is set to take place tonight at 8:00 PM ET in Boston.
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