Season Series: This is the second of four meetings this season between these teams. In the first one Oct. 12, Carolina fired 34 shots at Tim Thomas and nine different Hurricanes registered a point in a 3-2 win, their first of the season after going 0-2-1 to start.
Big Story: It hasn't taken long for the Bruins to feel the pressure of being the defending Stanley Cup champions. With their loss in Carolina last Tuesday, Boston's record dropped to 1-3-0, but the team rebounded against its Cup champion predecessors, the Chicago Blackhawks. Saturday night in Chicago, Nathan Horton's third-period slap shot tied the game before Tyler Seguin scored the shootout's lone goal, allowing the Bruins to win an exciting game that they never led.
Hurricanes: After their 3-2 win over Boston, the Hurricanes embarked on a four-game road swing that began Friday night in Buffalo. In an exciting back-and-forth affair that the Hurricanes led late, Drew Stafford’s goal with 2:21 remaining in regulation evened the score 3-3. While many in attendance may have anticipated extra time, defending Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner had other ideas.
With Thomas Vanek in the penalty box for tripping, Skinner scored a power-play goal just 57 seconds after Stafford's equalizer, giving Carolina a 4-3 win in which Cam Ward made 39 saves and the team scored two shorthanded goals to go along with Skinner's power-play winner.
"It was great to see the power-play connection on that last one," said Ward. "When you get a power play like that, you need to bear down, and we certainly did."
Bruins: With all three of its losses this season coming by a single goal, Boston entered Saturday's game against Chicago having failed to win a game in which it trailed in the third period. That streak ended against the Blackhawks, when Horton scored 7:56 into the third period to tie the game 2-2. From there, Thomas was perfect in the shootout against Chicago's three All-Stars; Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp.
Early on in their season, shots have been the difference for the Bruins. In their three losses, the Bruins have averaged 29 shots per game, compared to 39.5 shots per game in their two wins.
"I just thought we got better as the game went on, and by the third period we looked a lot more like our team," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "So that was good. I thought we did a great job of fighting through what we've been talking about the last couple of days."
Who's Hot: Skinner's game-winner in Buffalo continued a hot start that has seen him earn 6 points in his first five games. Winger Jussi Jokinen has kept pace, with 4 points in his last four games. … Both entering their second NHL season, Seguin and Brad Marchand have paced the Bruins offensively, with 5 and 4 points respectively in the team's first five games.
Injury Report: Carolina center Zac Dalpe left the game in Buffalo with a lower-body injury and isn't expected to suit up in Boston. … David Krejci is questionable against Carolina after sustaining a core injury during practice last Tuesday, as is Adam McQuaid, who missed the Chicago game. Defenseman Steven Kampfer is on Boston's injured reserve.
Stat Pack: While the Bruins rode the play of Thomas to a Stanley Cup last summer, they've had struggles on the offensive end to open the defense of their Cup. With two second-year players leading the team in scoring, the Bruins have scored two or fewer goals in four of their five games this season. They have also gone 0-for-20 on the power play since scoring their first goal of the season with the man advantage.
Puck Drop: Due to Dalpe's injury, the Hurricanes have recalled winger Brett Sutter from Charlotte of the American Hockey League. The team captain with the farm team, he could potentially play alongside his cousin, fourth-year center Brandon Sutter. From the 1970s through the 90s, the Sutter brothers, including Brandon's father, Brent, and Brett's father, Darryl, combined to play 4,994 regular-season NHL games. This past summer, Carolina also drafted another Sutter cousin, Brody, in the seventh round.