Does Bruce Cassidy try chaos mode for game 7? If he does, what is the result?

Does Bruce Cassidy try chaos mode for game 7? If he does, what is the result?

So if we just continue down the current path, Brind’Amour will again flip the match ups to get Staal playing against Bergeron’s line which has always included Marchand and at times included Pastrnak who has logged more ice time on the second line in the games in Raleigh. And if you are a Canes fan, the hope is very predictable results that match the first three games in Raleigh. Thus far, Staal’s line has won that match up most significantly by keeping Bergeron’s line for loading the score sheet like they have in Boston and even scoring a bit on their own. The result has been three home wins, none of which were by less than two goals. But here’s the thing…Will Bruins bench boss try a fourth time to go back to that well just hoping his guys can play better maybe with minor tactical adjustments to help? Or instead will he try to upset the apple cart? I actually advocated for Brind’Amour to move Teravainen to Aho’s line in game 6 in Boston to see if the Aho/Teravainen chemistry could provide a spark and also if adding Teravainen to the top line could help short it up a bit defensively. Brind’Amour instead tried a third time with the same formula and got the same result for the third time with Aho having a tough night and being on the ice for four of the five goals against. It might not be right out of the gate, but I actually think Cassidy could go chaos mode with lines to see if he can get away from the current...

What does it take for Canes to take series in game 6 in Boston?

Through 5 games of the series between the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins, the home team is a perfect 5 out of 5. In addition, though a couple of those games have been closer than the final scores would indicate, none of those games were decided by less than two goals. That would suggest tough sledding for the Canes in game 6 in Boston on Thursday night but also a good chance to win game 7 at home on Saturday. But what would it take for the Hurricanes to buck the trend, win in Boston on Thursday and take the series in six games? I think it is a combination of three things:   1) Aho’s line needs to have a strong game Aho’s line has been reasonably productive at home, but in the two games in Boston, they were held completely off the score sheet. When coupled with a decent amount of head to head play against Bergeron’s line and their massive scoring outburst, the deficit there was nearly impossible to overcome. Svechnikov has been engaged physically. He has matured greatly in terms of taking bad penalties out of frustration or trying to do too much when the scoring is not there. But if he has a scoring outburst in him, that could be the difference in game 6. But more broadly, Aho’s line needs to at least hold its own in Boston.   2) A cleaner game Maybe even more significant than match ups, the Hurricanes were sloppy in the two games in Boston measured largely in penalties take but also in terms of coverage errors/attention to...
Four questions that decide game 5 between Canes and Bruins and likely the series

Four questions that decide game 5 between Canes and Bruins and likely the series

The first four games of the Carolina Hurricanes versus Boston Bruin series were night and day depending on venue. First, the Hurricanes won twice by a combined 10-3 score in Raleigh. Then the Bruins won twice by a combined 9-4 score in Boston. Part of that is just the wackiness of NHL playoff hockey, but part of it is also the power of control match ups with the last change on face-offs on home ice. Below is a set of three questions that I think will play a significant role in deciding game 5 and with it also the series.   1) Does momentum exist? Can the Bruins harness it? In general, momentum in the NHL playoffs is fleeting if not completely non-existent. Each game is a completely new event. The players and coaches have incredibly short memories and each game also presents the opportunity to make some adjustments. So despite the Bruins having the upper hand in the past two games, the combination of the return to home ice and a fresh start would normally cancel out any carry over for the Bruins. But if some way, the Bruins are able to gain an early carry over advantage over to game 5, the Canes could be in trouble. This especially applies to Bergeron’s line. The trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak combined for 16 scoring points compared to exactly zero for the Canes top scoring line of Aho, Svechnikov and Jarvis. If that differential stays anywhere near that level, the Canes will have a massive uphill battle.   2) Can the Canes get back to leveraging match ups...
Teeing up a ‘pivotal’ game 4 between Canes and Bruins

Teeing up a ‘pivotal’ game 4 between Canes and Bruins

After consecutive Canes wins in Raleigh to start the first round playoff series between the Hurricanes and Bruins, the Bruins struck back in game 3 playing on home ice in Boston. Was that just a minor bump in the road for the Hurricanes? Or will it prove to be a turning point in the series? Sunday’s game 4 could have a lot to say about that. If the Hurricanes rebound with a win, they will have captured what was needed to have control of the series needing to win only one of the final three games to advance. But with a loss, the Bruins will pull even at 2-2 and have momentum heading into a suddenly shortened three-game series. As far as hockey parlance goes, I think that is the definition of ‘pivotal.’ Against that backdrop, here are my watch points for game 4:   1) Battle of the best In the 2019 playoff series loss to the Bruins, the single biggest deciding factor was that the Bruins top line Marchand/Bergeron/Pastrnak were the best and most productive players on the ice both at even strength and on special teams. They outplayed the Canes top line led by Sebastian Aho, and that was enough to tilt the series in Boston’s favor. The formula reappeared in a game 3 Bruins win that saw the trio reunited after mostly being separated with Pastrnak on the second line. On Friday, the trio combined for six points and were the best on the ice again. In the two wins in Raleigh, Bergeron’s line was mostly stymied and outplayed by Staal’s line, and Aho had...

What (if anything) changes as Canes/Bruins head to Boston?

With consecutive wins by a total score of 10-3, the Carolina Hurricanes are flying high heading into game 3 in Boston on Friday night. As I said briefly in my game recap on Wednesday, I would be surprised to see the Hurricanes just run the table for a series sweep. First, though I do think the Hurricanes are the better team and will ultimately prevail, the gap between the teams is smaller than the 10 to 3 goal differential would suggest. Second, being able to control match ups with last change at home will give Bruce Cassidy a few more levers to pull. Finally, veteran leadership will not allow the Bruins to throw in the towel at home. But Friday’s game is a must-win for the Bruins. If the Canes win game 3, even a Bruins win in game 4 charts with a very high probability for a Canes series win needing to win only one of four games with two of those games at home. Against that backdrop, here are my watch points for game 3 between the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins.   1) Effect of changing match ups In Raleigh with the last change, Brind’Amour matched Jordan Staal’s line up against Bergeron and Marchand, most often with Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce on the back end. Bergeron did score an even strength goal in Wednesday’s game, but the Hurricanes largely won this match up with Jesper Fast and Nino Niederreiter scoring even strength goals. In Boston, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will be able to steer Bergeron away from Staal and likely will. He may also go...
Setting up game 2 of the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Boston Bruins

Setting up game 2 of the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Boston Bruins

When it was all said and done, the Hurricanes emerged from game one with a lopsided 5-1 win. But that score was not indicative of what transpired. Boston was the better team out of the gate and carried play through the first period. The game was a scoreless tie past the midway point of the game before the Hurricanes broke the ice with consecutive goals. Arguably the biggest difference in the game was that the Hurricanes were rewarded with a couple second period goals when able to get bodies to the front of the net and then get shots through. Had Boston instead been rewarded with a couple goals in the first period, the outcome might have been different. So while the score was lopsided, I do not think the Bruins are in a position yet where they need to make drastic changes.   My watch points for game 2 adjustments follow: 1) Canes ability to advance puck from own end As I discussed in some detail in my recap for game 1, the Hurricanes struggled early in the game to advance the puck from their own end against the Bruins, especially early in the game. Often the Bruins sat four players back in the neutral zone with one aggressively hounding the puck trying to force a pass into the crowded neutral zone. The result was 20 giveaways for the Hurricanes for the game and an often disjointed offense trying to advance the puck up the ice. The Hurricanes were a bit better as the game wore on, but on Wednesday I will be watching to see if the...