Game Day Preview: Hurricanes at Bruins
The Boston Bruins finished their toughest stretch of the season Tuesday night by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime, 1-0. Brad Marchand played the role of hero 10 seconds into the extra frame off a beautiful feed from Patrice Bergeron.
The game had a playoff feel all night long. It was fast-paced, very physical and had great goaltending. Jonas Gustavsson made a career-high 42 saves to preserve the shutout and push the Black and Gold into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division.
While Don Sweeney and the B’s were supposed to be written off during this recent stretch, the hometown team took seven out of a possible eight points against elite hockey teams.
Now, the B’s will shift their focus to the Carolina Hurricanes, who roll into town Thursday night after defeating the Ottawa Senators two nights ago.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
Records: Bruins 38-23-7 (83 points), Hurricanes 30-26-11 (71 points)
TV/Radio: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Lee Stempniak
Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Loui Eriksson-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Landon Ferraro-Noel Acciari-Brett Connolly
Zdeno Chara-John-Michael Liles
Joe Morrow-Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Hurricanes projected lines
Joakim Nordstrom-Jordan Staal-Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner-Victor Rask-Phil Di Giuseppe
Nathan Gerbe-Riley Nash-Brad Malone
Brendan Woods-Jay McClement-Chris Terry
Jaccob Slavin-Ron Hainsey
Noah Hanifin-Brett Pesce
Michal Jordan-Ryan Murphy
Matchup to watch: Bergeron line vs. Hurricanes blue-line
It seems as if each night the trio of Marchand-Bergeron-Stempniak are carrying the B’s offense as of late. Since being acquired by Boston, Stempniak has one goal and five assists while Bergeron and Marchand continue to show off their impeccable chemistry.
This line continues to find the scoresheet each night and can’t slow down now. With players such as Hayes, Spooner and Eriksson hitting a scorer’s drought, the first-line must keep up the pace if they want to stay in that top spot in the Atlantic.
The Bergeron line is a tough matchup for anyone. They are relentless. Bergeron is incredible on the face-off dot, Marchand‘s speed and skill are tough to keep up with, and Stempniak’s play-making ability is sometimes overlooked. Look for this line to continue to carry the load against the Hurricanes Thursday night in Boston.
Storyline to watch: Can the B’s avoid a letdown?
The B’s are coming off a four-game stretch where they have been playing their best hockey. Stempniak and John-Michael Liles have given Boston a boost since being acquired at the trade deadline.
With wins against the Blackhawks, Panthers and Lightning, the Black and Gold can’t take the foot off the gas pedal. Boston is notorious for dropping winnable games on home ice this season and after its recent string of success, there is no excuse for why they can’t take it to a team sitting on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.
Points are at a premium from here on out and taking care of business on home ice is important. The B’s can’t lay an egg against Carolina Thursday night.