Oddsmakers favor the Boston Bruins to beat the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but not by as much as you would've imagined just a few weeks ago.
The Bruins enter Round 1 after a surprisingly bad performance in the NHL's round robin. Boston went 0-3-0 and finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference's round robin standings. So, despite winning the Presidents' Trophy with the league's best record in the regular season, the Bruins are the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
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They will play the No. 6 seed Hurricanes, who swept the New York Rangers in their best-of-5 qualifying round series.
The last playoff series between the Bruins and Hurricanes was the 2019 Eastern Conference Final, and Boston won in a sweep.
The Bruins are without a doubt the better team on paper. Boston allowed the fewest goals in the league during the regular season, while also ranking tied for seventh in goals scored, second in power play percentage and third in penalty killing. The B's have a major edge in playoff experience over the Hurricanes, too.
It's easy to look at the Bruins' lackluster performance in the round robin and not be very confident in their chances of making a deep playoff run. But they absolutely should eliminate the Hurricanes, and if they don't, it would be a pretty big upset.
Here are the opening odds for the Bruins vs. Hurricanes first-round playoff series, courtesy of DraftKings: