Hurricanes vs. Bruins 2nd-round preview

Canes-lg2_medium Stanley-lg_medium

The Blogs

Canes Country vs. Stanley Cup of Chowder

The Storyline

Like the Red Wings out west, the Boston Bruins swept their way through the first round, and have been biding their time while the Carolina Hurricanes took 7 games (and especially the final 80 seconds) to beat the New Jersey Devils.

The Numbers

Carolina Boston
  Record 45-30-7 11th 53-19-10 2nd
  Pts % 0.591 11th 0.707 2nd
  Goals For/Game 2.88 16th 3.29 2nd
  Goals Against/Game 2.70 8th 2.32 1st
  5-on-5 GF/GA 1.00 16th 1.42 1st
  PP% 18.7 18th 23.6 4th
  PK% 80.4 19th 82.4 11th
  Shots/Game 32.6 6th 30.3 11th
  Shots Against/Game 29.5 12th 30.8 21st
  FO % 51.3 8th 51.0 13th

As with some of the other teams remaining, hot play down the stretch means that the Hurricanes are likely to be better than these numbers would portray, but there's just too large a gap to close here. Interestingly, both teams get contributions from a wide group of players; using the statistical model from my MVP article, Boston player who stood out the most, David Krejci, came in at #34 overall, while Carolina's leader, Eric Staal, showed up at #69. That means that neither team relies overly much on a handful of core players (unlike Washington, which had 4 of the top 5 spots).

Goaltending

Carolina


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Michael Leighton 19 1029 6 7 2 1 50 2.92 507 457 .901 0
2008 - Cam Ward 68 3928 39 23 5 10 160 2.44 1901 1741 .916 6

Boston


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Tim Thomas 54 3259 36 11 7 4 114 2.10 1694 1580 .933 5

Cam Ward has been playing well, but Tim Thomas is the likely Vezina Trophy winner this season.

Penalties

No OtF preview would be complete without a look at Penalty Plus/Minus, to see which players will head to, or send other players to, the box:

 Carolina Penalties Drawn  Boston Penalties Drawn
  Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-   Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-
 Erik Cole 49 25 +24   Milan Lucic 34 39 -5
 Eric Staal 45 24 +21   Shawn Thornton 33 31 +2
 Tuomo Ruutu 40 37 +3   Zdeno Chara 30 38 -8
 Tim Gleason 30 28 +2   Steve Montador 29 47 -18
 Chad LaRose 26 16 +10   Marc Savard 31 23 +8
 Ray Whitney 23 16 +7   Mark Recchi 24 11 +13
Penalties Taken Penalties Taken
 Tuomo Ruutu 40 37 +3   Steve Montador 29 47 -18
 Joni Pitkanen 13 30 -17   Milan Lucic 34 39 -5
 Tim Gleason 30 28 +2   Zdeno Chara 30 38 -8
 Erik Cole 49 25 +24   Shawn Thornton 33 31 +2
 Eric Staal 45 24 +21   Marc Savard 31 23 +8
 Niclas Wallin 8 21 -13   Mark Stuart 14 27 -13

Carolina's Cole and Staal do a fine job drawing penalties, and will need to continue to do so if the Hurricanes hope to keep up with the Bruins.

The Prediction

The Hurricanes made a spirited run over the final weeks of the season, and fought through a classic series against the New Jersey Devils, but are facing too much of a juggernaut here. I'm taking the Boston Bruins to move on.

NHL Playoffs Blog Coverage, Schedule and Scores - SB Nation

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