A potential Eastern Conference final preview is on tap Sunday when the league-leading Boston Bruins take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.
The Bruins and Hurricanes are 1-2 in the NHL in points, although Boston enjoys an 11-point cushion over Carolina and bragging rights from a 3-2 overtime win at home.
Boston is the favorite (+280) to reach the Stanley Cup finals out of the East while the Hurricanes (+500) are the third choice behind Toronto Maple Leafs (+450).
The Bruins, who fell to the Florida Panthers 4-3 Saturday to lose back-to-back games for the first time this season, have one of the league’s top second lines, consisting of three Czech Republic natives in David Pastrnak, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha.
The trio have combined for nine goals and 28 points in their last seven games.
The Hurricanes’ top two scorers are Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas, who scored with 12 seconds left in regulation and then again in overtime to lift Carolina to a 5-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks Friday, giving Carolina wins in four straight games.
Let’s check the latest NHL news, stats, injury reports, and NHL lines for Bruins vs Hurricanes. We’ve got plenty of NHL picks for you to consider.
Smith Ends Scoring Drought
Craig Smith scored the opening goal in Saturday’s game against the Panthers, which usually means a win for the Bruins, who were 24-0-2 when scoring first.
It was the third goal of the season and the first in 10 games for the veteran, who only plays a career-low 10 minutes per game and usually on the fourth line.
Smith, who logged an assist in three straight games last week, is on pace to finish with fewer than 20 points, which would be his lowest total since his second season.
Despite leading three different times, Smith and the Bruins couldn’t finish the job and were outplayed for long stretches of the third period and finished with 12 giveaways.
“For me, it’s the third period,” Boston coach Jim Montgomerey told the media. “I don’t think we matched the intensity. We’re facing a little adversity right now.”
Necas making difference on power play
Necas’ game-tying and game-winning goals against the Sharks gave him 21 on the season, which leads the Hurricanes and is five more than he has ever scored.
The center, who is in his fourth full season with the Panthers, has four goals and one assist in the last four games and has a 18.2% shooting percentage in January.
One main difference for Necas, the No. 2 overall pick in 2017, this season compared to previous seasons is power play time, which is up over a minute to 3:26 per game.
That has resulted in a career-best six goals and eight assists on the man advantage.
“Good teams find a way and we did somehow,” Necas told the media. “Aho had two huge goals to give us a chance and (Antti) Raanta gave us a chance at the end there too on that 2-on-1 making a big save. You could feel it was coming for us.”
Bruins vs Hurricanes Game Injuries
Bruins vs Hurricanes Head-to-Head
The Hurricanes have prevailed in seven of the last 10 meetings with the Bruins, including winning a first round playoff series last year four games to three.
Boston leads the all-time series 137-97-16, including 59-54-9 on the road. Boston has a 60-52-4 advantage since the Hurricanes moved from Hartford to Raleigh in 1997.
Bruins vs Hurricanes Game Information
- Game: Bruins (38-6-5) vs Hurricanes (31-9-8)
- Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
- Day/Time: Sunday, Jan. 29th, 5 p.m. ET
- Bruins vs Hurricanes Live Stream: NHL TV
Bruins vs Hurricanes Betting Lines
Bruins vs Hurricanes Picks and Prediction
The Bruins are underdogs on the NHL lines money line (+105) for the first time since Nov. 23 against the Panthers, a game they lost 5-2 on the road.
The favorite has won nine straight games between the Bruins and Hurricanes while seven of the last 10 contests in the series have gone over the total with one push.
Carolina is listed at -130 in our Las Vegas NHL odds. This means that if you wager $100 on the Hurricanes, you have a chance to win $77. Boston is +110, offering a chance to win $110 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Carolina a 56.52% chance to win, with the Bruins 47.62%.