Bruins aim to end Hurricanes' domination over them

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Bruins aim to end Hurricanes' domination over them

WILMINGTON, MA There arent many teams in the NHL that really have the Bruins number. The odds become even more unlikely that a team has dominated the Black and Gold if theyre not even a playoff team.

But the non-playoff Carolina Hurricanes, the same team that banished the Bruins from the playoffs four years ago, swept the Bs in their four game series during the regular season and outscored Boston by a 14-5 margin. Its those kinds of performances against mediocre teams that gave the Bruins a reputation as a team that can sometimes play down to the competition.

But the Bruins players are keenly aware of last years Canes phenomenon as they ready for their first meeting against Carolina at the RBC Center on Monday night. The tilt against the Southeast Division foe will be the first part of back-to-back games that conclude back at TD Garden against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Its a pretty important game for us. This is a team that gave us a fair share of trouble last year and they improved their roster. Theyve won their last couple of games, so its going to be a challenge for us, said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. There are certain teams that give other teams trouble. Theyre a four-man attack team and they always have a D up on the rush.

We havent played our best against them, and theyve played some very good games against us. Its one of those things where we want to get that win against them as quick as we can so we can get the monkey off our back.

As expected Eric Staal, Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner share the team-lead with four points on the season, and the oldest Staal brother leads the Hurricanes with three goals scored on the season. The talented, young Carolina defensemen corps combined with skilled players like the Staal Brothers, Skinner and Alex Semin mean that the Bruins could be in for a long night if they start looking ahead to the Devils on Tuesday night.

Julien all but assured that wont be happening.

Their record against us last year is something were well aware of and were going into the game well-prepared, said Julien. They come at the net hard, they open up a lot and we havent been at our best against that kind of a team. We just havent been as prudent playing against a team like that. We need to take away their shots from the point and make sure we clear away any traffic from the front of the net.

There will be an extra challenge for the Bruins to do that without the services of 6-foot-5, 209-pound Adam McQuaid, a staunch stay-at-home defenseman that will miss the game vs. Carolina for personal reasons. Perhaps that will make the Bruins focus even more than last years domination of them in a convincing series of four games.

Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

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Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

BRIGHTON, Mass. – He hasn’t been cleared to play just yet, but fourth line energy guy Noel Acciari is closing in on a return to the Bruins lineup. 

Acciari joined in for a Bruins morning skate for the first time in 14 games at the end of last week, and practiced with the team again Monday for a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. The 25-year-old has missed almost exactly a month with a lower body injury, and said he can thankfully now see the light at the end of the injury tunnel for a healthy return to the B’s lineup. 

“It was getting lonely with all the guys on the road, and with me just skating with Frankie [Vatrano] and Zee [Chara],” said Acciari. “It’s great to be back out there with the guys, and it’s good to be back. Each skate I feel a lot better out there and just trying to get my conditioning back. Just being back with the guys is a great feeling, and it’s a big help.”

The fourth line has been okay in Acciari’s absence, but it seemed to be lacking the same kind of energy and hard edge the Providence College standout provided when he was healthy. That was part of what led the B’s to call up the similarly rugged Anton Blidh from Providence at the end of last week, and could provide some interesting energy line options when Acciari is ready to return. 

“I’ve played with [Blidh] before, I’m used to him and I know what he brings to the table just like he knows what I can do,” said Acciari. “So it would work out well [if we played together] I think.”

Acciari has two assists and a plus-1 rating along with four penalty minutes while averaging 10:01 of ice time in 12 games this season, and proved to be very good at unnerving opponents simply by playing all-out all the time. 

Monday, Dec. 5: Craig Cunningham's recovery

Monday, Dec. 5: Craig Cunningham's recovery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully getting in the holiday spirit by getting the family Christmas tree this week.

*Very good and very sobering story about Craig Cunningham’s slow recovery, and his large support system with the AHL Roadrunners team he is captaining this season. It sounds like it might be a bit of a long road for him, so he and his family will need that support from those around him.

*Tyler Seguin has his shot back, and that’s great news for the Dallas Stars power play. So is that like Stella getting her groove back?

*A KHL player went into a sliding dab formation in order to celebrate a goal on the ice, and we salute him for that.

*The Maple Leafs are trying to fortify their backup goaltending situation after waiving Jhonas Enroth this week.

*Interesting Bob McKenzie piece about a young man that’s hoping to challenge conventional thinking in the hockey coaching ranks.

*TSN’s Scott Cullen takes a look at Winnipeg rookie Patrik Laine’s shooting skills as part of his “Statistically Speaking” column.

*For something completely different: the hits just keep on coming for Netflix as they’re going to double their TV series output over the next year.