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NHL Predictions: Carolina Hurricanes Three Keys to Victory vs Boston Bruins

Carolina Hurricanes predictions

The Carolina Hurricanes welcome the Boston Bruins to Raleigh in this round of NHL Predictions. This is the second of three matchups between these teams with Carolina taking the first game 3-2 in Boston. Spencer Martin held down the fort in net for Carolina with Jordan Martinook striking in the third period for the win. Both teams have overall been great this year and are both in the race for the President’s Trophy. This has the potential to be a tight one.

Boston is 6-4-0 in their last ten with a most recent win over the Nashville Predators. Even with notable players like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci leaving after last season, the Bruins are still a top dog in the league. With David Pastrnak leading the way offensively with 46 goals and 106 points and Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark solidifying the net, the Bruins are always a challenge for any team.

Meanwhile, since the trade deadline the Hurricanes have been playing arguably their best hockey of the season. On the backs of the additions of Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov, with the incredible return of Frederik Andersen, Carolina is 8-1-1 in their last ten. This includes back-to-back shutouts over the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens. Andersen shut out the Red Wings while Pyotr Kochetkov shut out the Canadiens.

The Carolina Hurricanes will have their hands full in this round of NHL Predictions. Here are three keys for a Hurricanes victory.

NHL Predictions: Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins

Three Keys to Victory for Carolina

Don’t Give Anything to Marchand

While David Pastrnak is Boston’s top offensive producer and is always a threat, Carolina needs to watch out for Boston’s captain in this one. Brad Marchand is no slouch production-wise either. He has 27 goals and 37 assists. This is good enough for second on the Bruins this year in goals, assists and points. This also includes seven power play goals. In their last matchup, Marchand was responsible for both of the Bruins goals and led what was looking like a Boston comeback.

But Marchand brings even more to the table than his statistics. Everyone knows the game that he plays. He is a pest, and possibly the most effective one in the league. Yes, opposing fans hate him, but to his credit what he does works. It can be very tough for teams to not fall victim to his antics. Usually, it is not the first act but the retaliation that the refs pick up on and Marchand is good at causing that. Andrei Svechnikov is one who will have to particularly be mentally strong in this one against Marchand as he tends to take bad penalties out of frustration. While Carolina’s penalty kill is excellent, taking Marchand’s bait and spending unnecessary time on the penalty kill will be a recipe for disaster. Not to mention their entire game might be thrown off mentally.

Win the Goaltending Battle

Both of these teams have strength in the net. Boston has boasted one of the best one-two tandems of Swayman and Ullmark in the last few years. With a collective sixth-best 2.70 GA per game, the Bruins are good at keeping the puck out of the net. And these guys are a big reason. Swayman has a 2.56 GAA with a .916 SV% while Ullmark has a 2.57 GAA and a .917 SV%. Both with almost identically good stats.

On the other side, Carolina started off struggling in net but since Andersen’s return have been superb between the pipes. Overall, they are third in the league in GA per game with 2.59. Andersen has a 1.88 GAA with a .930 SV%. He has two shutouts including the one mentioned above. Since his return from injury, he has not lost a game and has all but cemented his role as the starter for Carolina in the playoffs. But then there is Kochetkov as a very good 1B. He has a 2.38 GAA and a .911 SV%. This is impressive considering most of the beginning of the year his SV% was below .900. Even Spencer Martin has been great as a third option. Given the way they have been rotating, Andersen is likely to start here.

Carolina’s goalie will have to outplay Boston’s in this one. But that is no easy feat to do. The Hurricanes defence is good at limiting chances and cleaning up the trash, but the goalie as the last line of defence will have to be sharp. Cracking either Swayman or Ullmark on the other side will also be a challenge. But if Andersen, Kochetkov or Martin can stand tall, it gives Carolina a good chance to win.

First Line Magic

The Hurricanes new look first line has been nothing short of outstanding since being put together. Sebastian Aho centres Seth Jarvis and Jake Guentzel and all of them have been top-notch. Appropriately, they are the top three on the Hurricanes in points. Aho has 85 while Guentzel has 68 and Jarvis has 62. Aho has broken his personal record in points and continues to shoot up the franchise record books. Jarvis is one goal away from 30 for the first time in his career which is impressive considering he is still on his entry-level contract. And Guentzel’s elite offensive ability has been the cement that rounds out this line. Since coming to Carolina, he has put up two goals and 14 assists in 11 games. While he was seen more as a goal scorer, he has been setting up his linemates so well that it doesn’t really matter.

This line needs to keep up its magic against the Bruins. Their chemistry and effectiveness is a big reason for Carolina’s success of late. And could be a major factor in how they do in the playoffs. Not only will this line clicking produce dividends itself on the scoresheet, but it also means the opposition’s top defensive players will need to focus on it. This may allow Carolina’s depth more opportunities to contribute. The depth scoring has typically been a strength for Carolina. Now they have a true first line as well. Another night of magic from Aho, Guentzel and Jarvis could make the difference in this one.

Prediction Time

Both of these teams have secured playoff spots, but it doesn’t mean there is nothing to play for. Boston has 103 points while Carolina has 101. Both are within reach of the President’s Trophy as mentioned above. Playoffs are definitely the focus for both, but having home-ice advantage could be beneficial. With that said, expect another hard battle for the Carolina Hurricanes in this round of NHL Predictions. The Hurricanes have been red hot of late, but the Bruins haven’t been bad themselves. And Boston is always a threat.

Prediction: Carolina wins 3-2

Main Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports


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