• 59°

Hurricanes: Eastern Conference finals Game 1 tonight

Hurricanes vs. Bruins in East final

Carolina Hurricanes’ Teuvo Teravainen (86), of Finland, Sebastian Aho (20), also of Finland, and Jordan Staal (11) celebrate Aho’s goal against the New York Islanders during the first period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, May 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

By Jimmy Golen

AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) — The verdict is in on Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy: Good player, but not much of an attorney.

Speaking on the eve of Boston’s Eastern Conference final opener against the Carolina Hurricanes, McAvoy said Wednesday he made his case to the NHL’s player safety authorities but couldn’t talk them out of the one-game suspension that will keep him out of Game 1 on Thursday night.

“I think that we put forth a pretty good defense,” McAvoy said. “Whatever, I have to serve it. I respect the process. I’m glad that I was able to say my piece and be able to defend myself, but all things together, I’m not a very good lawyer, I guess.”

The Bruins advanced to the NHL’s final four when they eliminated the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night, but McAvoy will get a late start in the conference finals. He was suspended one game for a shoulder to the head of Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson in the 3-0 victory in Game 6.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Steve Kampfer or John Moore could replace McAvoy in the lineup. Connor Clifton was promoted to Boston’s top defensive pairing with Zdeno Chara at practice on Wednesday.

Here are some other things to look for in the East finals:

•••

IN GOAL

The Hurricanes questions of their own.

Both Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney have played well in goal so far this postseason, and coach Rod Brind’Amour said after arriving in Boston on Wednesday that he’s decided — but won’t yet announce — who will be in net for Game 1.

Mrazek started 40 games in the regular season and the first nine of the playoffs, including all seven of the first-round victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. But he was injured in Game 2 of the second round series against the New York Islanders. McElhinney, who started 33 regular-season games, won three in a row to help the Hurricanes reach the conference finals.

Brind’Amour has said his decision will be “pretty easy.”

“Got to make sure both guys are 100% healthy, because that trumps everything,” he said. “It won’t be more than a 10 second conversation.”

The Bruins have no such issues in goal: Tuukka Rask, the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner, has emerged as a star of the Bruins’ playoff run, posting a 2.02 goals-against average and shutting out the Columbus Blue Jackets in the clincher.

•••

OLD FOES

It’s the fifth time the two franchises have met in the playoffs, including two when the Bruins played the Hartford Whalers before they moved to Carolina. Boston holds a 3-1 edge, with Carolina’s lone victory in the 2009 conference semifinals coming on Scott Walker’s overtime goal in Game 7.

That was the Hurricanes’ last series win until this year.

“He never lets me forget it,” said Brind’Amour, who was Walker’s teammate on the ‘09 Hurricanes but was in the medical room when Walker scored in Boston. “That was a great series and it’s been a long time. Obviously I’d love to have the same result.”

•••

DOING THE DOUGIE

The last time the Bruins reached the Eastern Conference finals, first-round draft choice Dougie Hamilton was a rookie who was seen as a long-term replacement for Zdeno Chara as the backbone of the Boston defense.

But with restricted free agency looming after the 2015 season, he was shipped to Calgary. After three years there, he was traded to Carolina.

Still just 25, Hamilton said he has no hard feelings toward the Bruins. But he doesn’t expect a warm welcome when he takes the ice on Thursday night.

“If they still care about me that much,” he said, “I think it’s a compliment to me.”

•••

AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

Comments

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges