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Preview: The real games begin as the Bruins and Hurricanes face off in Game 1

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No more seeding! No more round robin!

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Boston Bruins Vs. Carolina Hurricans At PNC Arena Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

(Note: As was the case the other day, no Morning Skate on game days. Use this preview as your Morning Skate if you’d like.)

Just the facts

  • When: Tonight, 8 PM
  • Where: ScotiaBank Arena - Toronto, ON
  • How to follow: NESN, NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
  • Rival SBN site: Canes Country

Know your enemy

These are regular season stats because the qualifying round is too short to have a meaningful sample size.

  • Sebastian Aho: 38G, 28A, 66 PTS; Teuvo Teravainen: 15G, 48A, 63PTS; Andrei Svechnikov: 24G, 37A, 61PTS; Dougie Hamilton: 14G, 26A, 40PTS
  • Petr Mrazek: 21-16-2, 2.69 GAA, .905 save percentage; James Reimer: 14-6-2, 2.66 GAA, .914 save percentage

Game notes

  • Well folks, it’s time! The weird round robin games are out of the way, and now the weird playoff games are upon is. When the Bruins and Canes last faced off in the playoffs, I was in Portugal, drinking vinho verde and Sagres. Now, there’s a pandemic, hockey in August, and I’m going to be a father in a couple days. Life comes at you fast.
  • It’s hard to really offer any kind of preview, because really, who knows what’s going to happen? The Bruins looked flat, slow, rusty, etc. in the round robin, but based on comments from the players, they weren’t exactly playing all-out in those games. Will we see the regular season Bruins or the round robin Bruins? My bet is on the former.
  • If the Bruins are going to have any shot at going on another run, they’ll need the first line to wake up. Much of the concern entering the round robin surrounded David Pastrnak, but he’s looked fine. Brad Marchand is the one who has been a bit concerning to me, as he simply hasn’t had the effective kind of games we’ve come to expect from him.
  • Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask both missed practice on Monday, deemed “unfit to participate.” It seems like it’s just a minor thing or a maintenance day, but something worth keeping in mind.
  • It’ll be interesting to see what Bruce Cassidy does with the lines tonight. The combinations thrown out there on Sunday didn’t really open any eyes, but Cassidy should have a full complement of players at his disposal. The Middle Six Wheel Of Fun will likely continue to spin, so get ready for a lot of “wait, who’s out there now?”
  • Another thing worth keeping an eye on is what Cassidy will do with his bottom defense pair. Jeremy Lauzon and Connor Clifton both played on Sunday with Matt Grzelcyk out, but it appears that Grzelcyk will be back in the mix tonight. A choice will have to be made on who comes out.
  • There will be some conversation about whether or not the Hurricanes will be rusty from having several days off, but let’s be honest: we’re in the Strange Times. Nothing is normal. Normal is nothing. No one knows what’s going to happen.

See ya tonight!