The Bruins certainly didn’t take the path of least resistance in losing all four games of the round robin.
Instead, they plopped themselves into the path of the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round after they trounced the New York Rangers in the qualifying round. The Canes are young, skilled, fast and have pretty good depth up front and on defense and are almost as adept at the special teams game as the Bruins at this point in their development.
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Interestingly, both teams are loading up on top lines of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak against Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov, and both teams have considerable talent on the back end. Carolina might be a little lighter when it comes to their shutdown defensemen than the Black and Gold, but they are also younger and faster as a group headed into the seven-game series. Plus, the addition of Dougie Hamilton would be significant if he’s healthy enough to play.
Either way, though, Bruce Cassidy expects the same coaching staffs and similar personnel to play out in the same type of hockey as it during last spring’s Eastern Conference Final. That would seem to bode well for Boston.
“Same coaching staffs on both sides and a lot of the same players, so you can see the tendencies from last year will probably play into this year’s series. For us, we felt when we were able to counter Carolina’s puck pressure with good support and execution and good decision-making, that’s when we were at our best in that series. So that will be our game plan going in,” said Cassidy. “It comes down to making the right plays at the right times against that pressure. Who wins the battles against the walls? Who wins the foot races to loose pucks in the neutral zone after those board battles?
“Last year our power play was good against Carolina and it helped us out a lot. It helped us win games, so that’s something that will be a big X-Factor in this series. Can we replicate that success?”
So who has the edge in the head-to-head matchups in a Tale of the Tape? We’re so glad you asked.