NHL: Bruins rested, rusty heading into series with Carolina
By Jimmy Golen
WILMINGTON, Mass. ó The Boston Bruins have had eight days off since sweeping Montreal out of the first round, giving them a chance to hang out and heal while the Carolina Hurricanes were engaged in a seven-game struggle with New Jersey.So will it be rest or rust for Boston?
“There’s pros and cons in both. They may not have had a chance to rest, but they’re in a groove,” coach Claude Julien said after the Bruins practiced for tonight’s Game 1 of their second-round series against Carolina. “This is the card that we’ve been dealt, and this is the opportunity we earned: To get our players back to 100 percent. Let’s take advantage of it.”
The Bruins and Hurricanes last met in the playoffs in 1999, when Boston won in six games.
The Hurricanes missed the playoffs for two straight years after winning it all in 2006 ó the only team in modern NHL history to do that ó and they were 12-11-2 this year before firing coach Peter Laviolette on Dec. 3.
He was replaced by Paul Maurice, who became the winningest coach in franchise history when he presided over the move from Hartford and led the Hurricanes to the 2002 finals.
Carolina went 33-19-5 under Maurice, winning 17 of 22 down the stretch.”The expectations have risen, and we’ve got guys that have won Stanley Cups,” he said. “That’s how they think.”
One of them is goalie Cam Ward, who allowed 15 goals in the seven-game series against New Jersey.
“What drives you is trying to get to that Stanley Cup final,” Ward said. “This is another step that we have to take, and it’s not going to be easy.”
Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward and forward Mark Recchi won the Cup with the Hurricanes. Ward remembered the way Carolina fell in love with that team, but he knows Bruins fans have been waiting since Bobby Orr skated with the Cup twice in the 1970s.
“You always want to win, but 1972’s been a long time coming,” Ward said. “We have some die-hard fans, but they’ve been in hibernation for a long time. They’ve been waiting for an opportunity to rally around the team.”
Boston dominated Carolina in four regular-season matchups, outscoring the Hurricanes 18-6. But that was before they reacquired Erik Cole.