Bruins

Bruins-Hurricanes Game 6 preview, projected lineups, odds and prediction

Bruins

The Boston Bruins must win Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden on Thursday night to save their season and force a Game 7.

The Bruins were pushed to the brink of elimination with a lackluster 5-1 loss at PNC Arena on Tuesday night.

The good news for the Bruins is they are back home, where they won Games 3 and 4 and outscored the Hurricanes 9-4, while also completely dominating on special teams. Boston went 10-for-10 on the penalty kill and scored four power-play goals in those two home games.

The Bruins were an excellent home team in the regular season and into the playoffs (28-13-2 overall). They have been a totally different group at the Garden during this series compared to Carolina, where the B's have been outscored 15-4 in three losses.

Will the Bruins extend their season by another game or start their summer vacation early? Here's a preview of Bruins-Hurricanes Game 6, including projected lineups, betting odds and more.

Key storylines

Several lineup changes for the Bruins

After a three-game absence, star defenseman Hampus Lindholm is back in the lineup and likely will play alongside Charlie McAvoy on Boston's top pairing. Lindholm suffered an upper body injury as a result of a huge hit from Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov in Game 2. His return to the ice will result in Matt Grzelcyk exiting the lineup. Grzelcyk has struggled in this series, particularly in Game 5, and the B's have been outscored 6-2 during the veteran defenseman's 5-on-5 minutes against the 'Canes.

 

The Bruins also are making changes up front.

Based on the lines at morning skate, Chris Wagner is coming out and Trent Frederic is back in. Frederic is more of a liability defensively but brings a similar physical presence and a little more offensive skill than Wagner. Head coach Bruce Cassidy also is breaking up the top line, putting David Pastrnak back down to the second line alongside Taylor Hall and Erik Haula. This trio enjoyed tremendous success over the second half of the regular season.

Jake DeBrusk will move up to first-line right wing and play with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

These lines (see them in full below) give the Bruins a little more balance. Boston also needs to get Hall going offensively, and putting Pastrnak on his line could jumpstart that improvement from the former MVP.

Bruins have to score first

The Hurricanes have played eight games against the Bruins including the regular season, and they have scored first every time. The 'Canes owned the league's third-best record (39-4-6) when scoring first in the regular season, and they are 3-2-0 in this series. Carolina is 45-1-0 when leading by multiple goals in any game this season, including a 3-0-0 mark in Round 1.

These Bruins players must step up or their season will end vs. Hurricanes

The only matchups where the Bruins didn't score first but still beat the Hurricanes were Game 3 and Game 4 in Boston last weekend. So, why couldn't they do it again in Game 6 at TD Garden? Well, the situation is a little different this time because Boston is now facing elimination. The pressure on the Bruins if they don't score first Thursday night will be immense. 

The Hurricanes' style of play -- physical, aggressive forechecking, etc. -- is much tougher to deal with when they have a lead. The Bruins, for their own confidence and to get the crowd into the game early, need to score first and dictate the pace of the game right off the bat.

Projected Lineups

BOSTON BRUINS

Forwards

Brad Marchand--Patrice Bergeron--Jake DeBrusk

Taylor Hall--Erik Haula--David Pastrnak

Trent Frederic--Charlie Coyle--Craig Smith

Nick Foligno--Tomas Nosek--Curtis Lazar

Defensemen

Hampus Lindholm--Charlie McAvoy

Mike Reilly--Brandon Carlo

Derek Forbort--Connor Clifton

Goalie

Jeremy Swayman

CAROLINA HURRICANES

Forwards

Andrei Svechnikov--Sebastian Aho--Seth Jarvis

Teuvo Teravainen--Vincent Trocheck--Martin Necas

Nino Niederreiter--Jordan Staal--Jesper Fast

Max Domi--Jesperi Kotkaniemi--Derek Stepan

Defensemen

Jaccob Slavin--Tony DeAngelo

Brady Skjei--Brett Pesce

Brendan Smith--Ian Cole

 

Goalie 

Antti Raanta

Odds

Moneyline

Hurricanes: +105

Bruins: -125

Over/Under Total Goals

Over 6: +105

Under 6: -125

All lines via PointsBet

Prediction

Bruins win 2-1