Bruins - Hurricanes preview: B's look to bounce back

Bruins - Hurricanes preview: B's look to bounce back
November 18, 2013, 6:15 pm
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The Carolina Hurricanes have taken nine of a possible 12 points in their last six home games at the RBC Center, so the Bruins will be facing a Carolina club that’s found their footing in the brutally bad Metro Division.

That should leave the Bruins as a motivated team coming off their third-period implosion against the Ottawa Senators last weekend, and hoping to get some positive momentum with two more games on their current road trip. The Hurricanes will be without offensive stars Jeff Skinner and Alex Semin, who have both given the Black and Gold trouble in the past, but will be welcoming back goaltender Cam Ward, who missed the last month with a lower body injury.

Monday night’s tilt in Carolina should be winnable game for the Black and Gold, but those games are never played out on paper.

“We want to bounce back from a loss that we let get away from us at one point,” said Claude Julien. “[Carolina] has done a good job of collapsing around their net, and protecting their goalie. That means we’re going to have work extra hard to get goals tonight.”

It sounds like the kind of night where the Bruins are going to have roll up their sleeves and put the work in, but if they do that then they should be rewarded against a Carolina team with less than its best roster right now.

PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRES PUMPED: Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg have a grand total of 3 assists in 14 total games during the month of November, and were on the ice for two goals against in the third period against the Ottawa Senators. Reilly Smith was actually the culprit in one of those two goals against when he gave up the puck to Bobby Ryan for Ottawa’s fourth goal of the game, and underscored a difficult stretch for the third line. They can’t put out efforts where they produce nothing offensively, and allow a pair of goals to reach the back of their net.

DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “We have a different team that we play here tonight. They’re an aggressive team. We have to be good. We have to be ready for the pressure they’re going to give us, and ready to make plays. This is never an easy game in this building, so it’s up to us to be better all over.” –Claude Julien, ready for a Carolina team that’s sucked the Bruins into some ugly efforts in their home rink.

KEY MATCHUP: Andrej Sekera and Justin Faulk are both averaging more than 23 minutes of ice time for the Carolina Hurricanes, and have posted a combined minus-15 rating for the season. That should open up plenty of room for the Bruins to do damage with their top six forwards, especially with the Canes missing Alex Semin and Jeff Skinner among other puck possession players. The Bruins should absolutely win this battle against an injury-plagued Hurricanes hockey club, but time will tell if they’re able to take care of business.

STAT TO WATCH: 5 – the number of games in Loui Eriksson’s current point streak where he’s posted six points (2 goals, 4 assists) and both his goals have arrived camped in front of the Boston net while redirecting point shots. Three of Eriksson’s four goals on the season have been scored that way.  

INJURIES: For the Bruins, defenseman Adam McQuaid has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury and didn’t make the road trip for Boston.

The Hurricanes will be without goalie Anton Khudobin (lower-body injury), Alex Semin (upper body injury) as well as Jeff Skinner (upper body). Forward Radek Dvorak (lower body) returns after missing the past two games for Carolina, and Canes enforcer Kevin Westgarth (upper body), who has missed the past eight games, is questionable.

GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tuukka Rask will get the start, and is coming off a rare sour night against the Ottawa Senators after allowing a pair of softy goals in the third period to the Sens. It was only the second time in 16 games this season that Rask has allowed four or more goals, so the expectation is that Boston’s No. 1 goaltender is going to bounce back in a big way.

Cam Ward has missed nearly a month of action, but will make his return after missing 10 games with injury against a Bruins team that he’s routinely had success against. Ward is 2-2-3 on the season with a 2.81 goals against average and .912 save percentage, but should be highly motivated coming back from a month on the shelf.