By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob
The Boston Bruins are set to take on the Carolina Hurricanes, but this is no ordinary matchup. The Canes will be paying homage to their roots and the Bruins’ former neighbor to the south: The Hartford Whalers.
That’s right, at 5:00pm ET you’ll be able to tune in and see those classic Whalers threads in action once again. They’ll be worn by a puzzled Hurricanes team who has gone 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Meanwhile, the Bruins will be looking for their fourth straight win over Carolina.
It was nice to see Patrice Bergeron back in action on Saturday, and that was before his four-point performance. After missing over a month of action, Bergeron returned to the lineup with a fury. The alternate captain inked two goals and two helpers to propel the Bruins over the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-2. While making two of this three shots count, Bergeron won 52-percent of his face-offs – all while seeing just 16:25 of ice time. That number is a big fall from his average of 18:48 throughout the season, but it clearly didn’t seem to phase the centerman.
Bergeron’s downtick in ice time was likely for a variety of reasons (including the fact that he was just returning from an injury). However, a big reason was due to the play of David Krejci. While he failed to extend his eight-game point streak to nine games on Saturday, the Bruin put up five goals and six assists during that stretch before coming up empty against Nashville. Bruce Cassidy has decided to keep David Pastrnak on Krejci’s wing even with the return of Bergeron (who is still sticking with Brad Marchand). It will be interesting to see if the break up breeds success with two lines that have the potential to become lethal.
Andrei Svechnikov has been outstanding for Carolina. While his four-game point streak came to an end on Saturday, the rookie has tallied 10 goals and eight assists in 34 games. The 18-year-old is showing up on his opponents’ radars in the wake of his recent performances. He will certainly be on Boston’s radar when they take Svechnikov and his fellow Hurricanes on Sunday evening.
Tuukka Rask, who is expected to start on Sunday, is 2-3-0 in his last five starts. While it’s hard to blame a goaltender for every goal against, Rask has given up 13 in those last five games. The netminder hasn’t been bad, but certainly not good enough to receive consistent starts like Jaroslav Halak has this past week. Cassidy has seemed content going with the hot hand throughout the season without declaring a designated starter.
Though Michael Ferland is one of Carolina’s top producers this season with 11 goals and four assists in 34 games, the forward has entered a slump. Ferland hasn’t come up with a point in his last six games. After contributing to his team’s early successes with seven goals and four assists in his first 12 games of the season, the forward has fallen short alongside the rest of his team.
Bruins vs. Hurricanes Outlook
Coming off a sizeable victory over the Predators, the Bruins will look to bring the accompanying energy to Carolina on Sunday. With all four lines finally showing some life offensively, whether that be via extended zone time or multiple goals, Boston seems on the verge of breaking out of their “one-line team” status.
The Hurricanes are looking to turn things around as they continue to fall down the Metropolitan standings, currently resting in sixth place. They are currently 10 points out of a wild-card spot with three games in hand over the Montreal Canadiens. However, if they don’t put a halt to their skid soon, they may leave themselves too little time to make up for their woes in the second half of the season.