Carolina Hurricanes and the Boston Bruins are going to open the NHL 2021-22 playoffs action on Monday evening. The home side wants to continue its victorious streak and open the series with a win. The visitors have played well over the past few weeks, and they look forward to continuing in the same fashion.
Carolina enjoyed an excellent campaign in the regular season, and they want to build up on that in the playoffs. They have the home-ice advantage in this tie, and the hosts want to defend it. On the other hand, Boston has been pretty confident lately, and they will search for an upset in Game 1. The away side heads to another game on the road, and they hope to bounce back here.
Carolina Hurricanes – Will they open the playoffs with a win?
The Hurricanes have been running hot lately since they booked six wins in a row to close the regular season. They finished at the top of the Metropolitan Division and were second in the Eastern Conference with a 54-20-8 record. Carolina is full of confidence, and the home side wants to extend its streak at the start of this series. They go to this match after beating the New Jersey Devils 6-3 on the home ice. Jesperi Kotkaniemi led them to success by finding the back of the net once and making two assists.
Sebastian Aho has contributed the most to the Hurricanes’ offense during the regular season with 81 points, topping the goals and assists charts with 37 and 44, respectively. Andrei Svechnikov produced 65 pts, while Teuvo Teravainen had 65. Tony DeAngelo and Vincent Trocheck have contributed with 51 points each, while four other skaters managed to reach the 40-point mark. On the other hand, Frederik Andersen has been the Hurricanes’ first-choice goalie, making 52 appearances and allowing only 2.17 goals per match.
Expected Line-Up: Antti Raanta, Tony DeAngelo, Jaccob Slavin, Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen
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Boston Bruins – Can they produce an upset on the road?
The Bruins’ winning streak ended in the final round of the regular season after losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on the road. Although they had just one shot less than their rivals, the Bruins could have done better in defense. Nevertheless, that loss didn’t hurt them too much, and Boston heads to this clash in a positive mood. They lost just twice on the previous eight occasions and finished 4th in the Atlantic Division with a 51-26-5 record.
Brad Marchand has led the Bruins’ offense in the regular season, producing a total of 80 points and including a team-high 48 assists. David Pastrnak tops the team’s scoring charts with 40 goals while contributing with 77 pts. Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall are in the 60s, while Charlie McAvoy has chipped in with 56 pts. Three other skaters managed to produce 40 or more points for Boston. On the goal, Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman made 41 appearances each, combining for a .915 save percentage and allowing 2.43 goals per game.
Expected Line-Up: Jeremy Swayman, Derek Forbort, Charlie McAvoy, Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak
Expert Pick #1 – Over 5.5 @-115
Although the pace is slower in the post-season, I’ll take the Over as my first pick since the margin is set pretty low. Also, the Hurricanes have been very good in the offense, especially on the home ice. Moreover, five of their last seven matches went over the margin.
Expert Pick #2 – Hurricanes to win (Inc. OT and Pen.) @-120
Both teams have played very well lately, but I think the home side will extend its winning streak. Carolina has the home-ice advantage, and I believe they will capitalize on it in Game 1. Therefore, I’ll take the Hurricanes to win as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Hurricanes Over 2.5 @-160
If you fancy lower odds, this pick might be the right choice for you. The Hurricanes managed to find the back of the net at least three times on the previous seven occasions, and they should continue in the same fashion. I expect them to go over a 2.5 margin again.