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Riding an impressive 16-game point streak, the Bruins (39-17-9, 87 points) look to keep the visiting Hurricanes (36-23-6, 78 points) from extending their winning stretch to a season-high six games Tuesday night.
According to NHL.com, since Dec. 29, Boston and Carolina have each recorded 43 points. Only league-leading Tampa Bay has posted more (44) during that span.
That’s what makes this matchup so intriguing. Currently, the Bruins are second in the Atlantic Division, while the Hurricanes sit third in the Metropolitan.
Following Saturday’s gutsy 1-0 victory over New Jersey, Boston is 12-0-4 since a 3-2 regulation-loss to the New York Rangers on Jan. 19. It’s the Bruins’ longest point streak since an 18-game run (14-0-4) from Dec. 16, 2017-Jan. 25, 2018.
“Can’t all be pretty ones,” Marchand, who has a goal in three straight games and 29 points in his last 20 games, told the Bruins’ official website. “At the end of the day, we got two points. In the regular season, that’s what you need. I’ll take it, and we’ll focus on the next one.”
Rask has stopped 68 of 70 shots over his last three starts, and has a 1.88 goals-against average during a 14-0-3 stretch as a starter. However, head coach Bruce Cassidy said backup Jaroslav Halak will start Tuesday.
Halak made 42 saves in a 3-2 win at Carolina on Oct. 30. He also owns an 0.97 goals-against average and .966 save percentage while winning his last four starts, the most recent last Tuesday versus San Jose.
The Hurricanes are 0-1-2 in their last three trips to Boston, but beat the Bruins 5-3 at home Dec. 23. Carolina last won six in a row during the 2009-10 season.
Still embracing the “bunch of jerks” jeer from legendary commentator Don Cherry, the Hurricanes are coming off a 4-3 overtime win at Florida on Saturday. Sebastian Aho scored his 27th goal early in the extra session, and Petr Mrazek made 31 saves for Carolina, which blew a 2-0 lead but rallied from down 3-2 to prevail.
“Every game is tough,” Aho, who has a goal in three straight games and 22 points in the last 18, told the Hurricanes’ official website. “We just have to play all 60 minutes.”
Aho has recorded four goals with four assists in his last four games against the Bruins.
Mrazek has a 1.74 goals-against average and .942 save percentage during a four-game winning streak, and he made 27 saves in the December win over Boston. Teammate Curtis McElhinney, meanwhile, owns a 1.48 goals-against average while winning his last four road starts.
According to the Hurricanes, McElhinney (17 wins) and Mrazek (16) are the first pair of goalies in club history with at least 16 victories in the same season.
Marchand has five goals and eight assists in last seven games versus Carolina, which is expected to wear the uniforms of the Hartford Whalers on Tuesday to honor the franchise’s past.
–Field Level Media
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