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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston Bruins to faceoff with the Carolina Hurricanes in the east quarterfinals

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Bianca Oppedisano
Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins facing off. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

It came all the way down to game 82 for the Boston Bruins to officially find out who they will be playing in the first round of the NHL playoffs. However, the Bruins showed they don’t care about seeding as they scratched a whopping eight players in their final game which ultimately led to a 5–2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs setting up a matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round.
The Bruins haven’t exactly enjoyed playing the Hurricanes this season considering that in three meetings this season, the Bruins were outscored by the Hurricanes by a score of 16–1. But their last meeting came over two months ago before the trade deadline, so a lot has changed. For example, the Bruins added a legit top-4 defenseman in Hampus Lindholm who, when he has played, is 8–2 while registering seven assists in the process. Meanwhile, on the Carolina side of things, they are riding a 6-game winning streak into the playoffs. However, in their most recent loss against the Colorado Avalanche, the Hurricanes lost goaltender, Frederick Anderson, to a lower-body injury. Anderson has yet to make it back onto the ice and is likely to be out for a portion of the series against Boston. This could benefit Boston as Anderson started all three games against the Bruins this season registering two shutouts.
When looking at the roster for Hurricanes and comparing it to the Bruins roster, one could argue that the Bruins should have the advantage when it comes to overall star power. With the exception of Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen for the Hurricanes, the Bruins may have the next four or five best players on the offensive end. The defensive end is where the Bruins struggled for much of the season. However, things look much better with the addition of Lindholm in the mix. Carolina’s smallest defenseman is Tony Deangelo who stands at 5’11 180 lbs, but still has been very productive with 51 points in 64 games. Carolina’s big defense could cause problems for the Bruins on the offensive end.
On the goaltending side of things, down the stretch it felt like the Bruins were holding tryouts for both Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark to figure out which would start in the beginning of playoffs. Over the course of the last month of the season it has become clear that Ullmark has taken over that starting spot for Boston. In the month of April, Ullmark holds a 5–1 record with a .950 save percentage with wins over teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers. Swayman struggled in the final month holding a .889 save percentage with a 4–5 record. Even though it seems Ullmark has the job, don’t expect him to be given the benefit of the doubt if he struggles. Expect Swayman to get some starts if Ullmark can’t get it done.
Over the course of the past few years, the Bruins have beaten the Hurricanes twice in the playoffs, only losing one game in those two meetings. Carolina has much improved since their last playoff series in 2020 and you should expect this series to go six or seven games. Goaltending will be key in this series because if Anderson can’t play for the Hurricanes, the Bruins may be able to take advantage of a backup goaltender by sending a ton of shots his way. If Ullmark can continue his hot streak of play, the Bruins could ride that hot streak into the second round.

About the Contributor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator