RALEIGH — The Bruins face off against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night at PNC Arena in North Carolina.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
They will have a few special fans in attendance at the game, as most of the players’ fathers accompanied them on the road trip.
“It’s been great. It’s amazing to see a lot of the resemblance there between the fathers and the sons — and you see where the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree,” Head Coach Claude Julien smiled following the team’s pregame skate on Friday morning. “But it’s been good. We had a good meal [Thursday] night, got an opportunity to get to know them and to chat with them, so I think it was great.”
“Having said that, let’s cut the cord here and think about what we have to do tonight. There’s something probably more important for the moment here and it’s to get ready for the game.”
While it’s exciting to have the fathers around, the Bruins know how important the two points are in regards to the standings.
“It’s great to have them here, and we definitely want to put a good effort in for them,” said Brad Marchand. “We don’t want to be embarrassed in a loss or anything like that so hopefully guys are prepared to put in a good effort tonight and put a game up that they enjoy.”
This marks the first of two meetings on the season between Boston and Carolina. The Hurricanes just played on Thursday night, falling 3-1 to the Maple Leafs in Toronto, and they are finishing up a set of three games in four days. They could make a strong push down the stretch, if they get on a run.
“We need the wins as much as they do,” said Julien. “We’re in a playoff spot right now, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to stay there if we don’t win hockey games. No matter what the situation is on the other side, you’ve got to stay focused. We’ve played three in four before and our third game was actually pretty good.”
“So we should expect a good team to come out here, a team that’s going to be desperate because they’ve been doing a good job of climbing up in the standings and they’re certainly not going to throw the towel in.”
The Bruins are looking for that elusive 60-minute effort. Against Pittsburgh, they were able to finish the game with a strong, three-goal third period en route to the 5-1 win.
“We were a little tight in those first two periods, and although we weren’t terrible, we weren’t as good as we could be,” said Julien. “So hopefully on this road trip, we’re ready to play and right from the get-go — make some plays from the breakouts, counter [attacks] and all of that stuff.”
“Let’s move that puck, as opposed to being tight like we were, and let’s make things happen. Once we managed to do that in the third period, you saw the results, and we were a lot better.”
The Bruins were tied with Tampa Bay at 72 points heading into Friday’s matchup. That puts them in third place in the Atlantic Division, five points away from the Florida Panthers (77 points).
“We’ll just try to play a 60-minute game, a solid 60-minute game,” said Tuukka Rask. “I think that hasn’t been our strong part for the most part of the year. We’re still looking to play a perfect game, I guess — we’re always chasing for that, so maybe tonight’s the night.”
Projected Lineup vs. Carolina 2/26
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo — Joonas Kemppainen — Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara — Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug — Dennis Seidenberg
Joe Morrow — Kevan Miller
Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson
Projected Scratches: Tyler Randell, Max Talbot, Zach Trotman