Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins Provide Playoff Preview Before Trade Deadline

On Sunday, January 29, ESPN posted an article highlighting the record-breaking season the Boston Bruins are currently having. Heading into their game that evening, the Bruins were on pace for a 133-point season. This would be the most points of any team in NHL history. Nevertheless, there is a fly in the Bruins’ proverbial ointment. The Bruins entered Sunday night’s game with back-to-back losses for the first time this season.

Moreover, the Bruins’ opponent that evening was the second-place Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were not only on a four-game winning streak, but they are also the team that eliminated the Bruins in the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. That being said, the stage was set for a great night of hockey. It would give us a glimpse of what this season’s Eastern Conference playoffs may look like.

That is, if neither one of the top two teams in the NHL make a major move before the trade deadline.

Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins Highlight Brewing Storm in the East

Halfway through the first period of Sunday night’s game, Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho intercepted the puck and scored his 21st goal of the season on a dynamic breakaway. The second period found the Hurricanes increasing their lead with a power play goal. The score was 3-0 when Bruins forward Taylor Hall finally put the B’s on the board early in the third period.

The Bruins were hopeful late in the third when they found themselves on a power play of their own. Nonetheless, even with the advantage, Hurricanes’ goalie Frederik Andersen was a 6 foot 4 inch Hurricane barrier. Carolina closed the night with a 4-1 victory, thanks to Jordan Staal’s empty net goal.

What this Game Means for the Trade Deadline

With the March 3 trade deadline fast approaching, the Bruins should take their loss to Carolina as a warning. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney seems to agree with this sentiment, as he already called up some new blood from the Providence Bruins following his team’s third loss in a row. They did turn it around with a resounding win against the Toronto Maple Leafs before the All-Star break.

As for the Hurricanes, they, too, should consider all their options at this pivotal moment in the season. They should not let their easy defeat of (potentially) one of the best teams of all time lull them into a false sense of security — especially with other teams in the Eastern Conference claiming big victories of their own.

A Blockbuster Trade as a Call to Action

On Monday afternoon, the Vancouver Canucks traded their captain Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders. Some sports analysts have said that the Islanders gave up too much to acquire the sixth-leading goal scorer in the league. Only time will tell if Horvat and the Islanders are a good fit. One thing we know for certain: before Monday’s big announcement, Boston and Carolina each expressed an interest in Horvat.

What will the B’s and Canes do now that Horvat is no longer an option? It’s a paradox for each of them. On the one hand, there is a problem for Boston. We now know that the Hurricanes can defeat the record-setting first-place Bruins. On the other hand, the problem for the Hurricanes is that they are still up against the record-setting first-place Bruins.

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