Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 01/08/17 – Prediction
Written by: Stephen Sobek
Boston Bruins (21-21 SU, 16-22-4 O/U) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (17-22 SU, 14-20-5 O/U)
NHL: Sunday, January 8 @ 5:00 p.m. ET
The Line: Carolina -130/Boston +110
The Boston Bruins enter Sunday’s matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes in PNC Arena fresh off a 4-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers less than 24 hours ago. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, lost a close road tilt to the Blackhawks back on Friday. Boston and Carolina will meet for the third and final time in the regular season later this afternoon. The previous two contests between these sides were each determined by a single goal, one in favor of the Bruins and the other in favor of the Canes.
The Boston Bruins sit in second place in the Atlantic division with 46 points, but are tied with only the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Winnipeg Jets for the most games played to this point in the season. That means other squads will have more opportunities to gain ground later on in the year. To make matters worse, the Bruins will likely have to rely on the services of backup goaltender Zane McIntyre against Carolina. He was recently called up to replace Anton Khudobin on Boston’s active roster. McIntyre is undefeated on the season in AHL action at 10-0, but he’s given up a horrendous 4.04 goals per game in two-and-a-half outings with the Bruins thus far.
Tuukka Rask manned the net for Boston on Saturday as he registered his NHL-leading fifth shutout in a 4-0 victory. Rask made 25 saves on the night while Brad Marchand notched two goals to pace the Bruins in that department. Boston outshot the Panthers by 12 in arguably one of their most dominant performances to date.
Category One At Best
The Carolina Hurricanes have had a difficult time scoring the puck lately. In their last three losses, they’ve combined to tally just three goals against some less-than-stellar defensive competition. Jeff Skinner leads the Canes in points and goals with 29 and 14, respectively. Center Victor Rask is right behind him with 28, but Carolina’s next-highest scorer is Sebastian Aho who has only 21 through 39 games played. It’s clear that lack of scoring depth is something that the Hurricanes have struggled with all year, but things are looking a little better with a favorable matchup on tap for Sunday.
Carolina was defeated 2-1 by the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday in the Windy City. The Hawks’ goaltender Scott Darling was fantastic, turning aside all but one of the Hurricanes’ 40 shots on target. Rask had the lone tally for the visitors in the defeat, marking yet another close loss for Carolina. The Canes hung right with the Central division leaders throughout, but fell short in the end. They’ll return home to PNC Arena, a place that has done them wonders, on Sunday for a highly-anticipated Eastern Conference battle.
The Bruins are:
- 0-6 in their last 6 vs. Metropolitan
- 0-4 in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest
The Hurricanes are:
- 10-2 in their last 12 home games
Home ice advantage should be key for the Carolina Hurricanes in this one as they look to reverse their recent losing trend. Don’t expect Boston to put up much of a fight with their backup goalie in net, as his AHL success hasn’t quite translated to the next level. I love the home side and hopefully they come in at a reasonable price to make the deal even sweeter.
The Pick: Carolina Hurricanes
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