Entering the wide-open Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes might be the most unpredictable first-round series in the NHL.

On the one hand, the Bruins were the best team in hockey during the regular season. They boast one of the best lines in hockey -- David Pastrnak-Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand -- the NHL's leading goal-scorer (Pastrnak) and a Vezina Trophy finalist (Tuukka Rask) in net.

They've won six of their last seven regular-season matchups with the Hurricanes and swept Carolina out of the Eastern Conference Final last year.

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On the other hand ... The B's looked abysmal during round-robin play, losing all three games while failing to gain a single lead. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, swept the New York Rangers in the qualifying round and are brimming with confidence.

Carolina also has its own highly talented top line of Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Tuevo Teravainen and a hot goaltender in James Reimer.

So, which team has the edge -- the NHL powerhouse that stumbled through the round robin or the upstart underdog hitting its stride at just the right time?

Below is a roundup of experts' predictions for the Bruins-Hurricanes first-round matchup.

Joe Haggerty, NBC Sports BostonBruins in 6.
Sean Leahy, Pro Hockey Talk: Hurricanes in 6. staff writers: Nine writers pick Hurricanes; six writers pick Bruins. staff writers: 13 writers pick Hurricanes; two pick Bruins.
USA TODAY staff writersTwo writers pick Bruins, one picks Hurricanes.
The Athletic coach/executive/scout picksCoach's pick: Bruins; executive's pick: Bruins; scout's pick: Hurricanes.


As you can see, the Bruins have plenty of bulletin board material of experts writing them off (especially on In any case, it appears they'll have their hands full right off the bat in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.