Game 4 Preview: Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Boston Bruins (1-2-0) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (0-2-1)
RBC Center: 7:30
TV: Versus/NBC Sports
Opposing Viewpoints: Days of Y’orr

Still in search for win number one, the Canes return home to RBC Center to take on the Boston Bruins which will be their first nationally televised game of the season. Only three games into the season and there’s already a lot of frustration among Canes fans with decision made by head coach Paul Maurice. It’s understandable to be frustrated when you start off the year winless but let’s keep in mind that it’s only three games into the season and we should wait a little longer before we start to bring out the torches and pitchforks.

Some new surrounding this game is that the defense pairings will be shaken up a bit with Jamie McBain being inserted into the lineup. The powerplay struggled last game against the Devils and McBain can help us out in that area but it also means that Justin Faulk wil lbe sitting out tonight’s game as a healthy scratch. Faulk has looked solid in his first three games so I do not think scratching him is the right call but Harrison being a better penalty killer makes him slightly more needed than Faulk at the moment. Either way, I hope this move pays off as McBain proved to be a solid puck-mover last season and should help out the team’s blue line provide some offense.

Scouting the opponent, lineups and analysis after the jump

Getting to know the Bruins

There’s a lot of people picking the Bruins to repeat as champions because their championship team from last season has remained mostly in-tact but there were a few areas where the team played well over their heads and are prone to regression. The main candidate being goaltender Tim Thomas. Now, I think Thomas will have another great season but his performance last year was SO absurd that even if he has a great year, it’ll be a drop-off from last season and the Bruins performance could suffer. I am also not too keen on their defense as they surrendered a lot of shots last season but the addition of Corvo at least gives them another player who can play tough minutes so guys like Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference don’t have to.

The Bruins offense remains one of the most balanced in the league as they have Rich Peverley stepping into a bigger role this year after acquiring him from Atlanta in a trade involving Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart last season. Peverley was mainly used in a third line role with the Bruins last year but he played the tough minutes in Atlanta and produced with them so I see no reason why he can’t do that in Boston. He at least provides a replacement for Mark Recchi on the second line. With David Krejci out, the Bruins are placing Tyler Seguin on the first line and that’s pretty big news for the Canes because Seguin has been a force when given top-six minutes. The Bruins have been unable to use him that role more often due to the team being very deep at center. Despite the high shooting percentages posted by Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, I think this team is set for another deep playoff run.

Lines and Defense Pairings:

Hurricanes

Skinner – Staal – LaRose
Ponikarovski – Jokinen – Ruutu
Tlusty – Sutter – Dwyer
Stewart – Brent – Dalpe

Pitkanen – Gleason
McBain – Kaberle
Harrison – Allen

Ward

Bruins

Lucic – Seguin – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Peverley
Pouliot – Kelly – Caron
Paille – Campbell – Thornton

Chara – Boychuk
Seidenberg – Corvo
Ference – McQuaid

Thomas

Thoughts/Analysis:

  • I’m content with the lines for now but I don’t understand why the team is so hesitant to give Dalpe a bigger role on the team. Putting him on the fourth line hasn’t done much to benefit the team and someone like Dwyer or Tlusty might be better suited for that role. I know Sutter’s line is typically the one who faces the other team’s top lines and Dwyer is a good defensive player but the third line for this team has hardly been able to get any offense going. Dwyer and Sutter haven’t exactly shown great chemistry either.
  • I haven’t agreed with the decision to give Tlusty top-six minutes but for what it’s worth he hasn’t been bad in the first three games. He hasn’t exactly provided a spark for any line he’s on but he hasn’t been bringing any line down. Wish I could say the same for Anthony Stewart.
  • I’m not 100% sure those are the correct defense pairings but my guess is that with Faulk out of the lineup, Gleason gets moved back up into that role and they will be assigned the Seguin line for this game.
  • Interesting to see the Bruins play Boychuk on the top pairing with Chara after how good him and Seidenberg played together in the post-season. I’m assuming they’re trying to spread the wealth with a somewhat thin defense corps. That or reuniting the former Carolina defense pairing of Seidenberg and Corvo.
  • Boston is usually a pretty good penalty killing team and if you watched Paillie and Campbell’s performance in the Stanley Cup finals, you’ll see why.
  • Jussi Jokinen’s coming off a game where he generated zero chacnes at even strength and has found himself a new winger as a result. Let’s see what him and Poni can do.
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