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Boston Bruins @ Carolina Hurricanes: Game Preview

The two Eastern Conference powerhouses meet up in North Carolina.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Carolina Hurricanes rallied to snatch victory away from the San Jose Sharks, scoring twice in the final two minutes of regulation before Martin Necas delivered the win in overtime. On Saturday night, the Boston Bruins found themselves on the losing end of a similar story; after pulling ahead in the final minute of play, they surrendered a goal to the Florida Panthers with three seconds left on the clock, and then lost just 17 seconds into overtime.

Their loss wasn’t just a shocker to the Bruins — it was also a historic loss for the franchise. Probably not the kind of thing they’d like to be making history with, though.

The Bruins have spent the rest of the season to date having big, franchise history type moments for positive things, so it feels like it was just about time for them to make news for something they actually did poorly.

In addition to all of that, this is the first time the Bruins have lost back-to-back games this season — they also lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning this week. Needless to say, the Bruins are going to be one motivated team coming into PNC Arena tonight. Sure, they’ve got a stranglehold on the top of the Atlantic Division — the second Maple Leafs are 13 points behind them — but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to try to avenge their poor showing in the state of Florida.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are looking for points to keep them ahead of the New Jersey Devils, who are just two points back. The Devils are idle until February 6, so the next three games (Boston, Los Angeles, and Buffalo) before the All-Star break will be crucial for the Hurricanes.

Game Notes

  • Congratulations to Brent Burns — when he steps out onto the ice tonight, he’ll be doing it in his 1,300th NHL game. That puts him third in the league for active skaters, behind Eric Staal, Ryan Suter, and Alex Ovechkin.
  • Martin Necas has been the overtime hero for the Hurricanes in two straight games, but can he do it against the Bruins if needed? He’s shockingly only faced them three times in the regular season in his career, recording one assist.
  • This is the second of three meetings between the Hurricanes and Bruins this season. Their previous meeting was in November, with the Hurricanes losing 3-2 in overtime.
  • Watch out for those third periods. The Bruins have 73 third period goals, which leads the NHL. They also allow just 31 goals in the third, which stands for the fewest in the league.
  • Three Hurricanes players have active scoring streaks: Brent Burns (points in four straight), Sebastian Aho (goals in three straight), and Martin Necas (goals in two straight).
  • For the Bruins lineup, keep an eye on Trent Frederic. He left yesterday’s game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.
  • The Bruins are also missing Jake DeBrusk and Tomas Nosek, both of whom are out with lower-body injuries.