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Bruins Open as Favorites Over Hurricanes in Eastern Conference Final

Tuukka Rask in net for Boston.
Tuukka Rask has given the Boston Bruins a huge edge in the Eastern Conference finals. Photo By Lisa Gansky [CC License].
  • The Bruins won the regular season series against the Hurricanes, 2-1
  • Petr Mrazek has an .888 save percentage in his career against Boston
  • The Hurricanes are 5-0 at home this postseason but just 3-3 on the road

The Boston Bruins took care of the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games and have now advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. After turning aside one surprising team in Round 2, can they take care of the biggest surprise of the playoffs – the Carolina Hurricanes – in Round 3? They’ve opened as the series favorite for the 2019 Eastern Conference final.

Hurricanes vs Bruins Series Price

Team Hurricanes vs Bruins Odds at BetOnline
Carolina Hurricanes +125
Boston Bruins -145

Home-Ice Advantage Will Tilt The Scales

There’s no question that the Hurricanes would have preferred to see the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference Final. They would have had home-ice advantage where they are 5-0 this postseason (3-3 on the road). Boston is just 4-3 at home this postseason but they were 29-9-3 at the TD Garden in the regular season. This will be a big factor.

Could Injuries Hamper The Hurricanes?

The Hurricanes have a couple of key injuries that could be a concern for the Eastern Conference Finals. To start, Trevor van Riemsdyk is out. He had surgery on his left shoulder and is done for the playoffs. They have depth at the position but losing a top-six defenseman at this point doesn’t help.

Also, we have to keep an eye on the status of Petr Mrazek. A lower-body injury kept him out of Game 3 and 4 of the last round but he has been seen on the ice in practice. He still has more time to recover but the Hurricanes will need him back. He has a 2.22 GAA and a .913 save percentage this postseason and if he misses any time, it’ll give Boston a boost.

Mrazek’s History Doesn’t Bode Well

We know that Mrazek has played well this season (and postseason) but we also know that he’s mostly a journeyman netminder. His track record against Boston doesn’t bode well either. In six career appearances, he’s given up 25 goals, posting a 3.09 GAA and .888 save percentage.

At the other end of the ice, the Bruins should have a huge edge with Tuukka Rask in net. He has a healthy 2.27 GAA and .927 save percentage against the Hurricanes for his career. He’s been outstanding this postseason and after the Game 6 shutout of the Blue Jackets, he now leads the playoffs with a .948 save percentage.

Bruins Will Take This Series

It’s hard to bet against Boston here. Carolina has had a nice run but this is where the fun ends. They just aren’t as strong up front – especially now that Boston’s top forwards are red-hot – and they are at a disadvantage between the pipes where Rask give the Bruins a big leg up.

Beyond that, the experience edge is in Boston’s favor as many of their players have played deep into the playoffs before, and they also have home-ice advantage, which will be crucial. Add it all up and I’m not expecting a very long series. It should last five or six games at most.

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