Bruins vs. Hurricanes Preview: A storm is coming

USA TODAY Sports

“A bruise is a lesson...and each lesson makes us better.” -Game of Thrones

Just the Facts

Game Time: 7 PM, TD Garden, Boston, MA. TV Broadcast: New England Sports Network (NESN), NHL Network (US). Radio Broadcast: 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Records: Bruins (24-9-4, 52 points, fourth in the East) vs. Hurricanes (16-19-2, 34 points, thirteenth in the East)

The Other Side's SB Nation Site: Canes Country

Get Tickets here: Boston Bruins Tickets

Hurricanes projected lines:

Ruutu - J. Staal - Skinner
Dwyer - E. Staal - Tlusty
Bowman - Brent - Larose
Dalpe - Nash -

Harrison - Bellemore
Gleason - Corvo
McBain - Sanguinetti
Bergeron

Peters

Bruins projected lines:

Lucic - Krejci - Horton
Marchand - Campbell - Jagr
Paille - Kelly - Seguin
Caron - Peverley - Thornton (Daugavins)

Chara - Hamilton
Seidenberg - Ference
Boychuk - Bartkowski

Rask

Preview:

Saturday night's game was a bruise of epic proportions. The Bruins came out entirely flat against the Canadiens in a crucial game that could have launched the Bruins into second place in the east. A bounce-back game is in order - this Hurricanes game is perfectly timed for that.

The Hurricanes have struggled mightily since their star goaltender, Cam Ward, went down with a knee injury. They've gone 1-8-1 in their last ten games, and have also lost Joni Pitkanen and Justin Faulk along the way. The most recent blow was losing Alex Semin to an upper-body injury; he didn't play Saturday, and is day-to-day. Semin may have been the 'Canes' best chance to make this a very competitive game tonight, as he's typically very good against the Bruins.

Without Semin, the Hurricanes are rolling 7 defenseman. Joe Corvo lead the team in ice time last game against the Rangers with 21 minutes; we're all too familiar with Joe Corvo's defensive lapses. Henrik Lundqvist made 48 saves against the Canes on Saturday, and as fantastic as that is - that the Canes got 48 shots to the net - the Rangers needed ten fewer shots to pot four goals, including one by Brian Boyle, who is not exactly known for his offensive prowess. Before that, they were shut out by the Lightning's new acquisition Ben Bishop in a 5-0 game; the Lightning are Not That Good, so that should tell you all you need to know about the Canes' struggles right now.

Want to see something even more depressing? Shutdown line tracked the Canes' PDO in five-game segments. (PDO, if you forget, is the sum of a team's save percentages and even strength chances and is basically an indication of luck.) It's plummeting faster than air pressure during an actual hurricane, and shows no sign of stopping. (That article's worth a look; it also breaks down their PDO before/after key injuries.)

PDO for average teams should be right around 1.000 or slightly below. Definitely should not be sub- 0.900. In a full season, maybe they'd have time to get back to the mean, but...yeah, probably not happening this year.

On the Bruins' side of things, everything looks a lot less bleak after considering the Canes' situation, doesn't it? Tyler Seguin has been moved to the third line to work with Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly, who might be back tonight, and that line is actually pretty intriguing - I'd call it less of a demotion for Seguin, as so many seem to be clamoring about, and more of a "let's try to spread the scoring across three lines" move by Claude Julien. If Kelly coming back means Pandolfo sits and we get a fourth line of Daugavins-Peverley-Thornton, it's a demotion for Peverley for sure, but if that's the case, look to see him and Campbell, who is centering Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr, potentially swap spots if things don't go well.

And of course, the Krejci line is intact, because they've had the best chances over the last two games. I don't hate it.

Game Thread at 6. See you there.

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