Bruins vs Hurricanes Playoff Preview
Despite the record setting season, an unfortunate injury to the most critical position at the most critical time of the year is definitely not how Carolina would have been hoping to enter the 2022 NHL Playoffs. On the other hand Boston appears to be getting fully healthy for one of the first times this year. The massive question mark in this series will be what happens in the goaltending position for both teams. These teams have met three times this season with Carolina winning all three: Hurricanes 3-0-0; Bruins 0-3-0
The Hurricanes find themselves in an unfortunate situation with the seemingly annual pre-playoffs injury to starting goaltender Frederik Anderson. It would be a massive blow to the Hurricanes if Anderson isn’t able to return at any point during this series and if that’s the case, the Hurricanes will need to do everything they can to protect their injury prone backup goaltender Antti Raanta.
Luckily for Canes fans, the team has shown a tremendous commitment to defensive play in situations where it’s necessary. Look no further than when they basically became a brick wall of defence in front of David Ayers, a zamboni driver, and won that game. They can do this. Jacob Slavin will need to play a big role in carrying that shut down defence as he will be looking to continue playing the most penalty kill minutes on the best penalty killing team in the league (88.0%).
Untouched heading into this series is the plethora of offensive weapons at disposal for the Hurricanes. This is an incredibly deep and talented forward group with all the creativity and firepower necessary to fill the net. Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov will hope to have a dominant playoff campaign that many think they are capable of.
Fortunately for Boston, they will be heading into this series about as healthy as they could have hoped for. The Bruins have seen a solid goaltending tandem this year with time split between Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. Despite both goaltenders posting good numbers throughout the season they can only start one goalie and their choice seems to be Ullmark.
Another Selke worthy season for Patrice Bergeron will give the seemingly ageless Bruins core more confidence that they still have what it takes to dominate a series. Furthermore, Pastrnak has managed to have himself another dominant season full of goals despite a slow start and he will be more than happy to carry that momentum into the postseason.
Keys To The Series
This is likely to be a closely contested series that could hinge largely upon the health of the Hurricanes goaltending. If Anderson can get healthy or if Raanta can find his game the defensive advantage will go to Carolina despite the Bruins deadline acquisition of top defenceman Hampus Lindholm
Special teams will be an interesting story line to watch in this series with the NHL’s best penalty killing team taking on a very strong fist powerplay unit with Marchand, Pastrnak, Bergeron, and McAvoy who is an offensive threat from the blue line.
When these teams meet in the playoffs, everyone wins. Even if you don’t have any strong feelings about either of these teams this is likely to be one of the best series in the first round. You won’t want to miss this one!