NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 1st
(All times eastern)
Boston Bruins (28-15-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-19-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Fresh off a successful job as hosts of the 2011 All-
Star Game, the Carolina Hurricanes will shoot for a third straight win
when they welcome the Boston Bruins tonight at RBC Center.
The Hurricanes welcomed the hockey world to Raleigh this past weekend,
but the home-ice advantage could not help Team Staal earn the win in the
midseason showdown. Carolina captain Eric Staal's team, which also
featured his Hurricane teammates Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner, dropped an
11-10 decision to the team led by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas
Although Staal's club lost the game on Sunday, they were at least able to
win the SuperSkills challenge on Saturday night to give the hometown fans
something to cheer about.
Ward felt that his club's supporters made a lasting impression on the
hockey world with their passion for a sport that is not supposed to play
well in the southern part of the U.S.
"It was good for fans from out of town to see what hockey is like in the
south, and I think they'll go back home with a different perspective of
Raleigh," said Ward. "We're blessed that we get to play here every day."
The Bruins, meanwhile, will join their All-Star teammates in Raleigh for
tonight's contest. Boston goaltender Tim Thomas and defenseman Zdeno
Chara, who played on opposite teams this weekend in Raleigh, remained in
North Carolina for a day of rest after Sunday's game.
Thomas earned the win in the All-Star Game over Chara and Team Lidstrom.
Boston's backstop has been the winning goaltender in three straight All-
Star games to become the first netminder to win three consecutive ASGs.
"I don't think people are checking out All-Star records ... but it
definitely meant something to me," Thomas told the Bruins website. "I was
hoping to play the third period so that I would be in position to [be the
goalie of] record."
Chara also had another memorable All-Star weekend as he broke his own
record in the hardest shot event at Saturday's skills competition with a
blast of 105.9 mph.
While Thomas and Chara received the day off on Monday, Bruins forward
Tyler Seguin, who was one of the rookies selected to participate in
Saturday's skills competition, flew back to Boston and practiced with the
club on Monday morning.
Boston comes out of the break in first place in the Northeast Division
and third in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are
currently ninth in the East and just one point behind Atlanta for the
eighth and final playoff seed in the conference.
Tonight marks the fourth and final meeting of the regular season between
the Bruins and 'Canes. Carolina posted a 3-0 win in Boston to begin the
season series on Nov. 26, but the Bruins swept a home-and-home series
against the Hurricanes in January. Thomas stopped 43-of-45 shots to help
Boston notch a 3-2 regulation win in Raleigh when the clubs last met on
Boston has taken four of five and 10 of 12 overall in the series and has
claimed five of the last six meetings at the RBC Center.
Carolina entered the break with back-to-back wins and Paul Maurice's club
posted a road win over the New York Islanders last Wednesday, Staal scored two
goals and Ward made 23 saves to help lift the Hurricanes to the 4-2 decision
at Nassau Coliseum.
Zach Boychuk and Brandon Sutter also scored for the Hurricanes, who have
won three of their last four.
"It was a huge game for us before the break," said Staal, who also had an
assist in the victory. "It was a good start for us, good effort and we
stayed with it, stayed on the gas."
Carolina is 13-8-2 as the host this year and has won five of its last six
games in Raleigh. Following tonight's tilt, the 'Canes will play six of
their next seven games on the road.
Boston won two out of three before the All-Star break and picked up a 2-1
home win when it faced Florida on Wednesday. Thomas made 15 of his 34
saves in the third period to help anchor the Bruins in the victory.
Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic lit the lamp for the Bruins, who have won
four out of six and are four points ahead of Montreal for the division
Boston, which will begin a four-game homestand Thursday against Dallas,
is 15-6-4 as the road club this season.
02/01 10:50:29 ET