NHL: Bruins bid to avert back-to-back losses, host Hurricanes
The Boston Bruins will look to bounce back from a rare loss when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday afternoon.
Boston has faced little adversity on its way to the top of the NHL standings. Now, the Bruins look to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season when it faces a team that it has played in three of the last four postseasons.
Wednesday’s 5-2 setback in Florida snapped the Bruins’ seven-game win streak and was the most lopsided of their three road losses.
“When you’re having a lot of success, sometimes what you’re preaching falls on deaf ears,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. “We haven’t harped on it a lot but turnovers and taking too many minor penalties, not using our feet and sticks well enough to stop taking minor penalties.”
Defenseman Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak each scored a goal for the Bruins, who allowed three power-play goals against the Panthers. Boston has surrendered a power-play goal in five consecutive games.
“We’ve been a little undisciplined this year,” forward Brad Marchand said. “It bit us in the butt (Wednesday).”
After his 5-on-3 goal Wednesday, McAvoy has logged 10 points in seven games this season. The only Bruins defensemen who have reached that mark in a shorter span are Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque.
McAvoy has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in his last five games. That’s more than every NHL player in that same span, save for Pittsburgh Penguins superstar captain Sidney Crosby (11 points).
“(McAvoy is) just using his God-given ability to make things happen,” Montgomery said. “He can skate right by forwards. He has the poise where he’d look, whether he’s looking at (Matt Grzelcyk) or in the slot … he’s down the wall, and he’s making things happen.”
The Bruins are two contests into a seven-game span in which they also play the last two Stanley Cup champions in Tampa Bay and Colorado (twice each), reigning Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida and Western Conference-leading Vegas.
Carolina travels to Beantown on the heels of a four-game losing skid (0-1-3), including Wednesday’s 4-0 setback to the Arizona Coyotes.
The Hurricanes are just 1-2-3 in their last six games and were shut out for the second time this season. They had previously won five straight games against Arizona.
“It’s frustrating,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said. “The puck’s not going in. We’re finding little ways to beat ourselves. … I think there’s a lot to improve on and a lot to get better at. It’s going to have to start soon.”
Staal and linemates Jesper Fast and Jordan Martinook have all gone without a point in four straight games.
Carolina’s 30th-ranked power play also is in a dry spell. It is 0-for-20 over the last six games.
“If your power play is going, you can weather the storm when you’re not scoring at five-on-five,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Sometimes you have to get greasy and ugly goals, and we’re not getting those.”
Antti Raanta was slated to start in goal on Wednesday but Brind’Amour said at morning skate that he got “nicked up.”
As a result, Pyotr Kochetkov has now played in three straight games. His 24 saves included a highlight-reel stick stop on Arizona’s Travis Boyd.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kochetkov signed a four-year, $8 million contract extension to remain with Carolina.
–Field Level Media