Hurricanes expect Dougie Hamilton to play in Game 1 vs. Bruins

James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Carolina Hurricanes could get a big boost on their backend for Game 1 against the Boston Bruins, with defenseman Dougie Hamilton considered a game-time decision for Tuesday's contest at Scotiabank Arena.

Out since snapping his leg in a Jan. 16 meeting with the Blue Jackets, the current plan is for Hamilton to take the pregame warmup and make a decision from there, per Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour.

"I'm expecting him to play," Brind'Amour said. "But we'll have to make that decision, or he will, when warmups are over."

Carolina has taken their time with Hamilton throughout the restart, of course, and held him out of their three-game sweep against the Rangers following a setback suffered in a July 22 practice.

A Hamilton return to action would include a reunion with Jaccob Slavin on the Hurricanes' top pair, which finished the regular season with the fourth-best goals-for percentage (59.2%) among d-pairings with at least 700 five-on-five minutes.

The 27-year-old Hamilton was averaging 23:17 per night and was the fourth-highest scoring defender in hockey at the time of his injury, with 14 goals and 40 points in 47 games. His plus-30, meanwhile, was the second-best among all NHL defensemen.

Worth mentioning that Hamilton, who spent the first three years of his NHL career with Boston before demanding a trade, had a straight-up terrible time against the Bruins in last year's four-game series, finishing with zero points and four minutes in penalties.

The Bruins, meanwhile, are at full strength entering tonight's contest.

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.