Hurricanes out for vengeance against blazing Bruins
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The Carolina Hurricanes, eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by Boston last season, have been eager to get a shot at revenge against the Bruins.
Too bad the timing isn't on their side.
The Bruins are firing on all cylinders, riding a seven-game winning streak and 11-game points streak (8-0-3) into their matchup against the visiting Hurricanes on Tuesday night. The contest will be the first between the clubs since Boston swept Carolina in four games during the Eastern Conference finals just seven months ago.
Those losses ended Carolina's first postseason appearance since 2009. The Hurricanes are off to another strong start this season and have won seven of their last 10 games.
Carolina snapped a two-game skid its last time out, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road 3-2 Saturday. The Hurricanes scored three first-period goals before James Reimer held steady in net the rest of the way, finishing with 36 saves.
"I think it's super important to get rewarded for a good period," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said after the game. "Obviously, the goalie made the difference here tonight, but everyone contributed."
Reimer has won three straight starts, although he's still the backup to Petr Mrazek (11-6-1, 2.68 goals-against average). During the playoffs against the Bruins last season, the Hurricanes benched Mrazek after he allowed 10 goals in the first two games of the series.
The Bruins' offense has been that potent again this season, with the team's 99 goals entering Monday second in the league behind the Washington Capitals. Boston's defense is also second in the league in fewest goals allowed (61) behind only the New York Islanders.
Both aspects have been on display during the Bruins' recent streak, with Boston outscoring opponents 29-12 in its last seven. Much of that damage has come late, as was the case Sunday when the Bruins scored three goals in the third period to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1.
The first of those goals came from David Pastrnak, who extended his league lead to 25 in just 27 games.
"He's playing a video game out there. I don't know what's wrong with that guy. It's so impressive to see that," said teammate David Backes. "He's down the wing, full speed, putting it where he wants to, winding up and off the post. I don't have words."
Backes scored the game-winning goal Sunday in his return after missing 13 games with a concussion. The marker came on the power play, his first of the season.
"We didn't know what he'd have, to be honest with you," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "He hadn't played in a while. I thought he gave us some good energy, had a couple looks, was banging bodies."
Despite their hot stretch, the Bruins have played without top-line center Patrice Bergeron, who has missed six of their last eight games with a lower-body injury. Bergeron skated before practice Sunday.
Defenseman John Moore was recalled from his conditioning stint with American Hockey League affiliate Providence on Monday and could make his season debut Tuesday.
The Hurricanes could be without rookie forward Martin Necas, who missed Saturday's game with a lower-body injury.