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PREVIEW: Boston faces Carolina in cross-division East Coast tilt

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The Hurricanes are trending up; can Boston regain control of their own destiny against this hot team?

NHL: Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes
Torey Krug should slide back into the lineup tonight, after sitting for the better part of a month with a reinjured ankle.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

PREVIEW

Just the Facts

Who: The Boston Bruins head south to face the Carolina Hurricanes.

What: The first of three regular-season matchups against two East Coast teams.

When: 7:00 PM

Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

How to watch: FS-CR, NESN

Rival SBN site: Canes Country

Know Your Enemy

Carolina is 6-4-1, and have a rejuvenated attitude in the East Coast and around the NHL. If you look beyond their ridiculously peppy post-win celebrations, the ‘Canes have had surprisingly high shot metrics and lead the league in xGF% (the percent of goals in a given game that one team might score).

Team Leaders

Goals: Micheal Ferland, 6

Assists: Sebastian Aho, 12

Points: Sebastian Aho, 16

Other notes: This is not a Game 7; thus, Justin Williams will be doing pirouettes at center-ice while Boston enjoys the power-play status throughout the game.

Game Notes

  • It’s been well-covered in this young season that the Carolina Hurricanes can generate shots. Gather this, however: while Boston and Carolina are roughly even in total goals for and against at even strength (BOS: 21 - 15; CAR - 24 - 16), Carolina has controlled the puck far more effectively in the scoring-chance department, taking over 60% of the shot attempts in a given game. Boston is still in the top ten, but Carolina leads league-wide in this category. On the bright side, Boston is within two percentage points of the ‘Canes in goals-for percent, so the ‘volume vs. accuracy’ game will hopefully be on full display.
  • Though shot and goal-scoring percentages are team stats, we do have to account for the absences of Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk, both of whom are off the ice with injuries and the latter of which was a bit of a surprise yesterday. In more positive news, Torey Krug figures to regain his spot in the lineup - and, though Braveheart and Grizzly Bear will be missed for every game they’re absent, Krug’s offensive ability is a welcome addition.
  • One goalie has, on paper and by the eye test, outperformed the other. Is it time that Bruce Cassidy rode the hot hand in Jaro Halak while Rask gets his game under him? Only he can decide, but though it was laughable to think that a journeyman starter-turned-maybe-backup would create goalie controversy in Boston... well, it’s here.
  • Jeremy Lauzon had a whirlwind day or two, and Colby Cave joins Boston on an emergency call-up. Lauzon looked solid and may well earn a depth seat when the injuries fade on defense. Cave apparently can only get emergency call-ups.

We’ll get them lines out to you once we know better. Until then, think Black’n’Gold thoughts!