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Expectations Set High

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins – The Bruins are in Carolina to take on the Hurricanes tonight, looking to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins defeated the Hurricanes, 6-2, on Monday in Boston and also won the only other meeting this season, 5-3, in Raleigh.

The Hurricanes have lost seven straight, are winless in April (0-7-0), and are also just 1-13-1 in their last 15 games. But, sometimes, teams that have nothing to lose are the most dangerous.

“They're a hard working team,” said Shawn Thornton following practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. “I think they've got some injuries over there, which usually isn't a good thing, but I'm sure they want to prove that they want to play in this league next year.

“So when you have nothing to lose, and you're out there trying to prove yourself, I think those are usually dangerous team to play this time of year.”

Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk, who recently returned from injury, said that while his team may not be winning games, the commitment and desire to win is still there.

“Guys are putting in the time, putting in effort and I think we're working hard,” Faulk said after this morning’s pre-game skate. “Nice to see that there's no quit in our team, guys are pushing. Guys are still getting frustrated, obviously guys get frustrated, people might think, 'oh, they're all mad and what not.'

“But I think that just shows that guys care, they're still emotional about the game. Nice to see that coming back. I think we're still pushing to get some wins here.”

Goaltending Tandem at Work

Between Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, the Bruins have gotten terrific goaltending throughout the season. Carolina, who normally has former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cam Ward manning the pipes, has struggled since Ward went down with a knee injury in March.

After Friday’s practice, Thornton was asked if seeing the Hurricanes without Ward makes him appreciate Rask and Khudobin even more.

“Yeah, we've been blessed pretty much the whole time I've been here with having two great tenders,” Thornton said. “I don't know if anyone expected Dobby to be as good as he's been, other than the people in this room. But he's stepped in there and played like a number one guy. We're very fortunate to have those two guys.”

Expectations High

I see signs of certain things turning around and that's encouraging. There's still some other things that's always going to be a challenge. I mention it again, it's reality versus excuses, like anything else the wear and tear is there. We've got to fight through it, fight through the reality of that, that's the schedule that's been handed to us. Battle through it and try to get some rest, and maybe some focus moving forward.

On if that has happened all across the league…

It has, it has. That's just it. You're in a city where sports mean a lot and it's scrutinized a lot closer than other cities. That's OK, that's what we expect, and that's what we want to be in. I'm happy to be in that kind of a city, but that's why the other day I mentioned that we don't let the negative stuff creep in our room. It's normal that it's written and the expectations are high and rightfully so. We set the bar high, so now we have to live with it. We've just got to stay focused really now what is happening inside that room and what's going to be going  out on that ice. We feel good about our team and that we're going to be turning things around in a way that we're going to be the team that everybody expects us to be.

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