By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
After going winless in their three-game round-robin tournament for postseason seeding, the Boston Bruins have dropped into the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and into a first-round showdown with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The No. 6 seed in the East entering the play-in qualifying round, the Hurricanes made quick work of the No. 11 seed New York Rangers, eliminating the Blueshirts in a three-game sweep. They did it on the back of their young stars, too, with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov combining for six goals and 13 points in three games. The Hurricanes also held Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin to just one goal (on 10 shots) and a single helper in that three-game sweep.
Their efforts were not lost on Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
"I think Carolina – young legs, their top guys are playing well; Aho and Svechnikov, [Teuvo] Teravainen. We saw that," Cassidy said on Saturday. "They’re functioning well defensively without Dougie Hamilton, who plays a lot of minutes for them. They alternated goalies – played both goalies. We saw that last year in our conference final against them.
"I think they’re playing their game the way they played. They play fast. They're attack-mode, their D get up the ice. They’re a year older. Those teams become dangerous in the playoffs when you have a little experience."
The Bruins, for what it's worth, took the lone 2019-20 head-to-head between these two teams by a 2-0 final on Garden ice.
And the Bruins are more than familiar with the Hurricanes beyond their one 2019-20 contest, as these teams meet in last year's Eastern Conference Final, with the Bruins sweeping the Hurricanes for the Prince of Wales Trophy.
Overall, this will be the fourth playoff series between these clubs since the franchise moved from Hartford to Carolina, with Boston capturing series victories in 1999 and 2019, and with Carolina's series win coming back in 2009.
Listen to Ty Anderson and Matt Dolloff preview the Hurricanes and give their postgame thoughts after the Bruins lost to the Capitals:
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.