The Boston Bruins didn’t exactly look great in the round-robin tournament, but that appears to have caused some folks to get carried away.
With the Bruins’ first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes set to begin Tuesday evening, a staggering number of people have chosen the Hurricanes to win the best-of-seven set (In ESPN’s panel of 15, a whopping 13 picked Carolina, including one panelist spotting the Bruins just one game).
Make no mistake, the Hurricanes looked sharp in their qualifying round sweep of the New York Rangers. But the desire to make the sexy pick seems to have forced some to forget that the Bruins were, after all, pretty much the best team in the NHL wire-to-wire during the regular season before the pause.
But that’s neither here nor there for Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, who was asked about the Bruins possibly being pegged as an underdog in the series.
“I don’t concern myself with predictions. We’ll be ready to play,” Cassidy said over Zoom after Bruins morning skate Tuesday.
“We came into this with a mindset that we were going to build towards Game 1,” Cassidy continued. “And our intention is to be in it for the long haul. That’s a bit of the reasoning behind it. We do have to improve areas of our game if we expect to beat Carolina. Our guys do have a recent history against them in terms of this year, the game we played, we won. Last year in the playoffs. But, a lot of that has changed. This almost feels like a brand-new season for obvious reasons. We have to prove it on the ice tonight.
“We feel there are certain areas that we can play well against them. There are areas that we have to make sure we’re on the ball in terms of the pace of their game and their footspeed and us getting back on pucks and supporting pucks so that we can play with the puck. And once we have it, we feel that there’s areas we can do some damage but until we get going here, who knows. That’s the game plan and I think our guys are up for it.”
Carolina very well might win the series, but the number of people hardly giving Boston a fighting chance is perplexing. But hey, that’s why they play the games.
Puck drop for Game 1 of Hurricanes-Bruins is set for 8 p.m. ET. You can find the projected lineups here.