|Division Rank||6 Metro||3 Atlantic|
|Conference Rank||10 EC||6 EC|
|Last 10 Games||5-3-2||6-4-0|
|Streak||Lost 1||Won 1|
|ES Goals For %||47.7%||51.5%|
|ES Corsi For %||52.6%||48.6%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||16.8% (26)||22.3% (4)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||82.0% (11)||82.8% (8)|
|ES Save %||.917||.923|
|ES Save %||.907||.917|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- There are only 20 games left in the season, so it's kind of weird to be facing a team for the first time and then two more times before the regular season winds up. Yet here we are for Canes vs. Bruins tonight (in Raleigh) then again on March 10 and April 5 (in Boston).
- If there's something good to be said about the game in Toronto last night, perhaps that it's...over? Plenty of bad though, between the team's overall sloppy performance, lack of execution, and the impact of the 3-1 loss on the post-season. But perhaps worse than the game loss is an injury situation that has suddenly turned bleak for a roster lacking depth. Jay McClement was injured on his first shift and did not return; if he's unable to play that's the loss of a veteran fourth line center, faceoff specialist, and key penalty-killer. Andrej Nestrasil hit the ice awkwardly on his back side after taking a hit from Nazem Kadri, was reported to be stretchered out of the locker room, and stayed behind in Toronto overnight for evaluation. While hoping first and foremost for his well-being, the team just lost one third of its best possession and scoring line. Justin Faulk wasn't able to dress for the game and his outlook for tonight isn't optimistic. His injury is described as 'nagging'. I won't belabor what he means to the lineup.
- So the Canes find themselves at 66 points and needing around 28-30 more with 20 games remaining in order to get a date to the dance. It's not impossible, in fact it was accomplished by the 2008-09 squad, but that roster had a few more higher end players and they were generally healthy at the end of the season. But that's where we are heading into tonight's game and into the trade deadline four days from now.
- The team arrived back in town at 2:30 am and obviously won't practice today. With the injuries incurred last night, the big story for the Canes today will be how they recover from Nestrasil's loss on a line that has pulled the team through the bulk of the season's success. Nathan Gerbe is available and Brad Malone will be available if he passes through waivers with out being claimed; otherwise a call-up may be necessary. As to how that might shuffle the lines, I gave it my best guess below based on the assumption that both Nesty and McClement are out (not sanctioned by any source).
- Bill Peters has been known to repeat goalies in back-to-back situations, but with the late arrival and quick turnaround Eddie Lack may get the nod for tonight's game. Lack has faced the Bruins once in his career, a 2-1 Canucks win with a 40-save performance. Cam Ward is 12-14-2 with a 2.70 GAA and three shutouts in 29 career appearances.
- With an assist on John-Michael Liles lone goal last night, Eric Staal has points in two straight games and three in his last four. According to a few reports, Staal was asked about his contract status after the game but declined to answer. With yesterday's trade between the Jets and Blackhawks for Andrew Ladd, the bar may have been set for the likely asking price if the Canes captain is involved in a trade before Monday's deadline.
- Boston native Noah Hanifin will face his hometown team for the first time in his young career. The Bruins were reported to be very interested in the rookie defenseman during the 2015 draft, stockpiling picks in an attempt to trade up though ultimately unsuccessful (sorry not sorry).
- The Bruins have been in Raleigh since Thursday afternoon, and as been the case for many teams this season, they brought their dads with them for a quick one-game road trip. They are coming off a big 5-1 win against the Penguins Wednesday night at TD Garden, where they haven't been all that successful this season. But they are 20-7-3 on the road which is third best in the league.
- This is not the defensive-minded Bruins team of years past. They've achieved their success in the standings from their ability to generate offense, ranked in the top five for goal scoring, shots, shooting percentage, and power play. Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins in total points (51), Brad Marchand leads in goal-scoring (31), and David Krejci is the leader in assists (34). David Pastrnak has four points in his last two games, and Torey Krug has points in his last three games.
- Tuukka Rask is likely to get the start in net for the Bruins. His career stats versus the Canes are 6-3-1 with a 1.97 GAA in 11 games. Jonas Gustavson is 2-3-1 with a 3.72 GAA in six appearances.
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Nathan Gerbe
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Chris Terry - Riley Nash - Brad Malone
Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Michal Jordan
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Justin Faulk (lower body), *Andrej Nestrasil and Jay McClement presumed out with injuries
Bruins (from practice 2/25)
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo - Joonas Kemppainen - Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara - Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow - Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
- Canes Gameday Hub [CH.com].
- The Canes are holding a Military Appreciation Drive this weekend, here are the details on how you can participate and donate items to help the troops [CH.com].
- On the Cheaters Never Win podcast, it's all about saying goodbye [Section 328].
- Fantasy Hockey Cage Match: Drew Doughty vs. Justin Faulk [DobberHockey].
- Bruins kick off Father's trip [Bruins.com].
- Here's how the Bruins shut down Sidney Crosby's line Wednesday night [Boston Globe].
- Tales from the NHL trade block [SI.com].
- Another look at the 2016 Trade Deadline [Globe and Mail].
- Ryan Kesler on how we play hockey in AMERICA [Players' Tribune].
- Finally, some of the Canes players tested their knowledge of texting acronyms yesterday, give it a watch: