The Carolina Hurricanes are not taking anything for granted tonight against the Boston Bruins. The Canes know that the number one seed in the East will be more desperate than ever as they find themselves in the unlikely position of trailing in this series, 2-1. If the Bruins can beat the Hurricanes tonight, then they will return to Boston having recaptured their home ice advantage and will probably look at this brief road trip as being a success.
Eric Staal realizes the importance of game four and was saying all the right things after this morning's skate:
We can't take a breath at all because if we do, we'll find ourselves behind the eight ball pretty quick.
He's right on the money about that.
Staal would be a good person to follow tonight because when he scores a goal, the Canes win. (6-0 in these playoffs) Also, the team leader will pass Ron Francis as the franchise point leader in playoff action, (39 points), when he gets his next point. That's not too shabby considering he's only had two seasons of playoffs.
Of course Cam Ward is the franchise's winningest goaltender in postseason play with 21 wins. He will have to be sharp again tonight for Carolina to have a chance. Ward currently has a save percentage of .935 and a GAA of 2.01 in these playoffs.
The leading scorers for the Canes are:
- Staal 7G 3A 10P
- LaRose 2G 6A 8P
- Jokinen 5G 2A 7P
- Whitney 3G 4A 7P
The Hurricanes will be looking to keep taking advantage of their team speed. So far they have been able to skate their way to two victories and have out-chanced the Bruins almost 2 to 1. Maurice will most likely continue to mix and match the lines, but let's assume they will start out something like this:
- Staal, Whitney, Cole
- Cullen, LaRose, Walker
- Jokinen, Ruutu, Samsonov
- Brind'Amour, Bayda, Eaves
The new "Euro line" of Samsonov, Ruutu, and Jokinen combined for the game winner on Wednesday night. It will be interesting to see if they can continue their success tonight.
On the Bruin side of things, Andrew Ference and Blake Wheeler are both questionable after sustaining injuries last game. Otherwise their lineup will remain the same.
If you need tickets for tonight, you better start looking for brokers. The Canes announced this morning that this game was already officially sold out.
The local broadcast will be provided by FS Carolinas in HD. Game time is at 7:30.