The Carolina Hurricanes swept their way from the qualifying round into a series with the Boston Bruins, but find themselves trailing 1-0 in the series entering Thursday's Game 2.
After making quick work of the Rangers, Carolina stumbled to start the quarterfinals, albeit losing a hard-fought, double-overtime thriller to Boston 4-3 on Wednesday.
Can the Bruins seize this newly discovered mojo after underwhelming in the round-robin restart? Or will the Canes manage even the series despite coming off a demoralizing loss? Check out abe Insights' preview for the best odds, wagers analysis and stats to help enhance your betting experience.
Date: Thursday, August 13
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Hurricanes 43%; Bruins 58%
Spread: CAR +1.5 (-210); BOS -1.5 (+200)
Moneyline: CAR +130; BOS -140
Bruins superstar netminder Tuukka Rask had some rust to shake off when he returned to the ice, and he's frankly still working through some difficulties. For someone who sets such a high standard, Rask's 1-2 record and 2.42 GAA this postseason is disappointing.
As of late Thursday morning, Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour hadn't decided who'd guard the crease opposite Rask. Game 1 starting goalie Petr Mrazek didn't really seize the opportunity, leading The Athletic's Fluto Shinzawa to opine that James Reimer will get the nod between the pipes.
11.8 vs. 00.0: Although the Hurricanes have struggled on the power play this postseason in going only 2-for-17, Boston has come up empty on 13 such opportunities. Granted, the Bruins faced the best in the East during round-robin play, yet it's still a discouraging trend.
257 vs. 239: If how these clubs played after the All-Star break is any indication, special teams should be a deciding factor. These numbers show minor penalty minutes for Carolina and Boston respectively in that span. The Canes tied for the NHL's second-highest total, while the B's were joint fifth with San Jose.
3.39 vs. 2.05: Speaking of post-All-Star break stats, these are the teams' splits for goals allowed per game to close the regular season. Despite better playoff form to date, Carolina tied Ottawa for second-highest here, whereas Boston led the NHL.
What isn't mentioned in that last stat is that the Hurricanes matched their goals allowed total by scoring just as many per contest. In other words, the numbers tell us they were playing an aggressive, attack-minded brand of hockey, and this risk-reward style produced mixed results.
All that said, Carolina showed signs of synergy with a three-game winning streak to finish the 2019-20 campaign. The club didn't miss a beat when it swept New York, either, and despite the Game 1 loss to Boston, the Canes stayed competitive against the defending Eastern Conference champions, even through the adversity of a dubious goal ruling.
These positive developments have to be a relief for Carolina's front office and coaching staff. Executives shook up the roster with an extremely active trade deadline, swinging numerous deals and overhauling the Canes' makeup, charging Brind'Amour to make it all click chemistry-wise.
Everything is falling into place for Carolina, though it's important not to fall into a 0-2 deficit. The Bruins are a force to be reckoned with, having accrued an NHL-best 100 points during the regular season, their fall from the top to the No. 4 seed notwithstanding.
If Rask is right, and Boston rediscovers the form that earned the franchise the Presidents' Trophy, this could be a very quick series for such an intriguing matchup between talented teams.
These teams are evenly matched despite their 19-point gap in the regular-season standings. After the COVID-19 hiatus, Carolina has played better hockey, but the Bruins are the bigger brand, so sentiment bias will skew to Boston's moneyline and spread.
Bettors who want to hedge should place wagers on the Hurricanes to win outright, because it's a fine, profitable return on investment. When it comes to the goal total, the public should push the action toward the Over due to the murky goaltender situation on both sides.
Note: Odds current as of 2:05 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 13.
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