The Boston Bruins are set to take on the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night in what is a must-win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals for the latter. With the Bruins holding a firm 2-0 lead in the series, the Hurricanes look to bounce back at home in what is a must-win game for them.
The first two road tests were not kind to Carolina. With the team suffering 5-2 and 6-2 losses, the Hurricanes look for some home cooking to right the ship. The odds are in their favor as according to many sports books, Carolina is the favorite at -1.5.
Boston has a 13-10-2 record as the underdog while Carolina has a 42-17-4 record as the favorite. Boston is 51-46 ATS and has a 29-18 record ATS on the road. Carolina is solid ATS in the friendly confines of PNC Arena as they have a 25-21 record.
Bruins Need “The Big Three”
If Boston wants to win on Tuesday, they need to have their best line firing on all cylinders. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak all need to have big games. They certainly did so on Sunday.
Marchand was -1 while he was on the ice Sunday. That needs to change if they want to win. Bergeron was a +1 and had an assist on Sunday. Pastrnak had an assist but was also on the ice for a goal. That is not necessarily a bad thing given that his production on the ice outweighed his blunder during the game. He had one shot on the afternoon, and if the Bruins want to win and get within a victory of playing for the Stanley Cup, they need to get more out of him.
Aho Must Step Up
Sebastian Aho needs to play better than he has this entire series. Quite frankly, he has disappeared for the majority of it. At first glance, his statistics do not seem too bad. He has a goal and an assist in two games. However, if Carolina wants to win, they need at least two goals from him. This is a must-win game for the Hurricanes, and Aho needs to put forth a better effort.
Both sides need their goalies to play well. Tuukka Rask needs to continue to stay sharp. He has been very effective throughout the course of the playoffs, and he needs to continue that here. He is in the zone and seems like he is stopping everything he sees.
There has been some controversy as to who will start in the net for Carolina. Petr Mrazek has had a rough go of things due to a nagging injury, and there is speculation that we could see Curtis McElhinney in net on Tuesday. In either scenario, the goalie needs to be ready to stop pucks. Carolina can’t afford to let in any soft goals, and defenders need to let the goalie see the puck and avoid screening him.
With how hot they have been playing, I would take Boston +1.5. I do not see them slipping up here, and I expect them to continue to be firing on all cylinders as they have the first two games of this series.