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SportNHL playoffs 2019: Predictions, odds for Bruins vs. Hurricanes Eastern Conference finals

14:15  09 may  2019
14:15  09 may  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Is this an Eastern Conference finals matchup that most people saw? Definitely not, but here we are. What can you say about the Carolina Hurricanes The Bruins are in the East finals for the first time since 2013, when they went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Final . Carolina has advanced at least this

The Bruins are in the East finals for the first time since 2013, when they went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Final . Carolina has advanced at least this far in each of its last four They'll be without Charlie McAvoy for Game 1, however; the NHL suspended him for a headshot on Columbus' Josh Anderson.

Is this an Eastern Conference finals matchup that most people saw? Definitely not, but here we are.

What can you say about the Carolina Hurricanes other than they have fully embraced the "Bunch of Jerks" moniker? They went from the last team to advance to the second round to the first team to solidify a spot in the conference finals. They easily swept the New York Islanders out of the Stanley Cup playoffs and will have had a week off by the time the puck drops on this series.

SN STAFF PREDICTIONS:

Eastern Conference | Western Conference | Stanley Cup

In comparison, the Bruins are coming off a hard-fought, six-game series against the Columbus Blue Jackets that wrapped up Monday. The series was the second one of the postseason where Boston had to come back from a 2-1 deficit. Against Columbus, they eventually rattled off three straight wins including a convincing 3-0 victory in Game 6 to close out the series.

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The official 2019 NHL playoff matchup page of the Boston Bruins vs the Carolina Hurricanes including news, stats, and video. Bruins vs . Hurricanes playoff preview. Boston, Carolina set for Eastern Conference Final , first postseason series against each other since 2009.

Las Vegas oddsmakers expect the Boston Bruins to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2013. The Westgate in Las Vegas has released its series betting prices for the Bruins vs . Hurricanes matchup opening

The Bruins are in the East finals for the first time since 2013, when they went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Final. Carolina has advanced at least this far in each of its last four playoff appearances.

Boston Bruins (-150) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (+130): Schedule, breakdown, prediction

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)
May 9 Game 1 at Boston 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA)
May 12 Game 2 at Boston 3 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC, SN, TVA)
May 14 Game 3 at Carolina 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA)
May 16 Game 4 at Carolina 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA)
*May 18 Game 5 at Boston 7:15 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC, SN, TVA)
*May 20 Game 6 at Carolina 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN, CBC, SN1, TVA)
*May 22 Game 7 at Boston 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN, CBC, SN360, TVA)

(*if necessary)

Season series

The Bruins won the season series 2-1 but each game was close. Boston's No. 1 goaltender, Tuukka Rask, started the Bruins' lone loss, allowing five goals on 37 shots. On the flip side, Carolina netminder Petr Mrazek, who appears to be healthy enough to return from an injury, started in the win (three goals allowed on 30 shots). Mrazek's backup and recent fill-in, Curtis McElhinney, allowed four goals on 38 shots in an overtime loss.

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The Carolina Hurricanes have been no match for the Boston Bruins thus far in the NHL ’s Eastern Conference Finals . Grzelcyk, who scored his first NHL playoff goal in Game 2 versus Columbus of the last round opened the scoring at the Expert Final Score Prediction for Bruins vs Hurricanes .

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Sebastian Aho led all scorers with four goals — one short-handed — and added two assists while teammate Teuvo Teravainen chipped in four points (two goals, two assists). Brad Marchand paced the Bruins with two goals and three assists, including the game-winning goal in the first matchup of the season.

DATE ROAD HOME RESULT
Oct. 30 Bruins Hurricanes BOS, 3-2
Dec. 23 Bruins Hurricanes CAR, 5-3
Mar. 5 Hurricanes Bruins BOS, 4-3 (OT)

Offense

Carolina: The Hurricanes roll four lines and can score up and down the roster. Youngsters Teuvo Teravainen (four goals) and Sebastian Aho (three goals) and veterans Justin Williams (two goals) and Jordan Staal (two goals) led the way in the second round. Staal netted the game-winning overtime goal in Game 1 that set the Hurricanes down the path toward a sweep.

Carolina has also gotten big point production from the defense corps, led by Jaccob Slavin's 11 assists. That helps explain how the Hurricanes have 3.09 GF/GP when they were at 2.96 during the regular season. They also have 26 goals when skating 5-on-5, which leads all postseason teams. Carolina's offense got back Andrei Svechnikov late in the second round and should get back Micheal Ferland in this round. Ferland had one of the best seasons of his career in 2018-19.

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Las Vegas oddsmakers expect the Boston Bruins to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final and advance to the Stanley Cup Final The Westgate in Las Vegas has released its series betting prices for the Bruins vs . Hurricanes matchup opening Thursday night with Game 1 at

Below is the full 2019 NHL playoff bracket and schedule, along with updated odds for the Stanley Cup. In the first round, the top seed in each conference plays the second wild card winner while the other division Eastern Conference . Tampa Bay Lightning (A1) vs . Columbus Blue Jackets (WC2).

Boston: David Pastrnak has had an up-and-down postseason, but the 2019 NHL All-Star did net four goals in the second round, including the game-winning goal late in Game 5. He has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 12 career games against Carolina. Boston will need him, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to increase their production. The line has not matched its regular-season level of output, but it has shown its ability in spurts. The unit will need to be more consistent.

The rest of Boston's forwards will need to continue chipping in goals, because the Hurricanes have shown they can shut down some of the top players in the game. David Krejci and trade deadline acquisition Charlie Coyle have stepped up their games.

Edge: Boston.

Defense

Carolina: Among the teams remaining, Carolina has allowed the fewest goals against (25) with an impressive 2.27 GA/GP (second-best). That's not a surprise, considering the Hurricanes have allowed the second-fewest shots against per game in the playoffs (27.8). They'll face a solid test in this series as the Bruins have the third-best GF/GP (3.08) and will pepper their netminders (35.7 shots/GP) with an attack that has produced the most shot attempts for (620).

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It's Conference Finals pick time for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs ! In the Eastern Conference , the only In Round 1, the Hurricanes took down the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals in a Their opponents, the last remaining Original 6 team in the 2019 Playoffs , the Boston Bruins .

Matt Grzelcyk scored twice and Jake DeBrusk netted his first goal of the series as the Bruins dominated the Hurricanes to take a 2-0 series lead.

Slavin has been a star in the postseason and a workhorse along the blue line (26:36 TOI). His partner, Dougie Hamilton, will have something to prove to the team that traded him 2015. Those two will need to step up their games; they are minus-3 and minus-5, respectively, against Boston in their careers.

Boston: Compared to Carolina, the Bruins are not far off their GA number (28) and are first in GA/GP (2.15). They'll be without Charlie McAvoy for Game 1, however; the NHL suspended him for a headshot on Columbus' Josh Anderson. McAvoy was one of the best defensemen in the second round and made a brilliant save in Game 5 — one of his 26 blocks in the playoffs.

His partner, captain Zdeno Chara, is no slouch, though. The 6-9 Chara leads all playoff performers this year with a plus-9. He also holds an impressive plus-20 in 69 career games against Carolina to go with 28 points.

Edge: Even.

NHL playoffs 2019: Predictions, odds for Bruins vs. Hurricanes Eastern Conference finals © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited tuukka-rask-boston-bruins-042519-getty-ftr.jpeg

Goaltending

Carolina: Who will start for the Hurricanes is still to be determined, but considering how Mrazek and McElhinney performed through the first two rounds, it probably doesn't matter. Mrazek, 27, went 5-3 with a 2.22 GAA and a .913 save percentage before getting hurt in Game 2 of the Islanders series. McElhinney, who will turn 36 on May 23, stepped in and went 3-0 with a 1.56 GAA and a .947 save percentage.

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In seven career games vs. Boston, McElhinney is 3-2-1 with a 2.21 GAA and a .934 save percentage. His numbers far exceed those of Mrazek, who is 4-2-1 in nine games with a 3.09 GAA and an .888 save percentage. Mrazek was Carolina's No. 1 netminder this season, however, and is expected to be back between the pipes if healthy.

Boston: Tuukka Rask is 8-5 in this year's postseason with a 2.02 GAA, a .938 save percentage and a shutout; after the series against the Blue Jackets, his GAA dropped to 1.71 and his save percentage rose to .948.

As coach Bruce Cassidy said after Rask's shutout in the clinching Game 6 victory, "I think he was our best player tonight. I thought we had a lot of guys play well, but he was our best player."

Rask is 9-4-3 with a 2.27 GAA and a .928 save percentage in 17 games liftetime against Carolina,

Edge: Boston. Mrazek's status remains uncertain and Rask has been phenomenal.

Special teams

The Hurricanes' power play has been atrocious in the postseason at just 10.5 percent effectiveness — and 4.8 percent on the road. In comparison, the Bruins are tops in the playoffs at 28.6 percent — and an unheard-of 43.8 percent on the road. With Carolina only 75 percent effective on the penalty kill, it will have to must stay out of the box if it wants to have any chance of winning the series.

Edge: Boston.

NHL playoffs 2019: Predictions, odds for Bruins vs. Hurricanes Eastern Conference finals © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited justin-williams-carolina-hurricanes-new-york-islanders-050119-getty-ftr.jpeg

Key players to watch

Dougie Hamilton, D, Hurricanes. He still isn't sure why the Bruins traded him, but he'll definitely try to show them why they shouldn't have. He has had a solid postseason and is a veteran leader for this young team.

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Zdeno Chara, D, Bruins. Chara has looked slow at times, but he knows when to pick his spots and is one of the best at positioning. He is 42 years old, however, so one has to wonder how much more he has in the tank. Is this his last chance at another Stanley Cup? One thing you can say about Chara is that he has grit, determination and the utmost desire to be at the top. He's probably the best captain in the game, too, and will use everything he has learned in 21 seasons to get to one more Final.

Bruins vs. Hurricanes playoff history

YEAR FINISH
2009 Bruins won conference semifinals in seven games
1999 Bruins won conference quarterfinals in six games
1991* Bruins won division semifinals in six games
1990* Bruins won division semifinals in seven games

* The Hurricanes franchise was playing as the Hartford Whalers.

Last five playoff appearances

Boston Bruins

YEAR FINISH
2018 Lost in second round to Lightning n five games
2017 Lost in first round to Senators in six games
2014 Lost in second round to Canadiens in seven games
2013 Lost in Stanley Cup Final to Blackhawks in six games
2012 Lost in conference quarterfinals to Capitals in seven games

Carolina Hurricanes

YEAR FINISH
2009 Lost in conference finals to Penguins in four games
2006 Won Stanley Cup, defeating Oilers in seven games
2002 Lost in Stanley Cup Final to Red Wings in five games
2001 Lost in conference quarterfinals to Devils in six games
1999 Lost in conference quarterfinals to Bruins in six games

Bruins vs. Hurricanes prediction

It's a tough call because this is the year of the underdog, but this is now the Bruins' Stanley Cup to lose. Boston in six.

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