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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Hurricanes

Halak set for 500th game as teams meet for first time since last spring's Eastern Conference Final

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - The Bruins, in search of their eighth consecutive victory, will welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to TD Garden on Tuesday night in the teams' first meeting since last May's Eastern Conference Final, which Boston won with a four-game sweep.

"It's the details for us," Sean Kuraly said when asked how to continue the B's winning ways. "When we stick to the details and the little nuances of the game, the big pieces kind of take care of themselves. We trust our game plan, we trust our players. It's kind of why I think it's working right now. We've proven we can do it. We can win games with the group we have and it gives guys a certain comfort level.

"No one's got to step out of their game, no one's got to do more than they are asked. Everyone just does their job and if we do our jobs, we usually get a chance to get the result we want."

Here's everything else you need to know for tonight's tilt (7 p.m. ET on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub):

Jaro 500

Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal for the Bruins in what will be his 500th NHL game -50 of which have come in Black & Gold. Halak joins Tuukka Rask in reaching that mark this season, making them the only current goaltending duo in the NHL to have both achieved the milestone. The 34-year-old, in his 14th NHL season, will be the 74th goalie in league history to play 500 games.

"He's been excellent for us. I'm sure he could be a No. 1 in this league, I really believe that," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "We're happy to have him in that regard because we feel like we've got two No. 1s."

In two seasons with the Bruins, Halak has been an integral piece of the team's success as he's teamed up with Rask to form, perhaps, the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Halak is 28-12-7 with a .924 save percentage, a 2.34 goals against average, and six shutouts with the Bruins.

This season, he is 6-1-3 with a .930 save percentage (sixth in the NHL) and 2.35 GAA (ninth).

"He's just been a rock in there," said Kuraly. "The team's playing no different no matter who's in there. It's a credit to him how he steps in and plays and sometimes not in the most ideal of situations. He's been just solid and a really good teammate. It's been fun to have him."

Video: Halak Will Play in 500th NHL Game as the B's Face CAR

Opposing View

Carolina (16-10-1) comes to town in the East's top wild card spot with 33 points, which is 1 point clear of Pittsburgh and 3 points ahead of Toronto. The Hurricanes are 11th in the league in scoring (3.22 goals per game) and eighth in goals allowed (2.81).

They are paced offensively by Andrei Svechnikov (11-18-29 in 27 games), Teuvo Teravainen (7-19-26), and Sebastian Aho (13-9-22). Former Bruins blue liner Dougie Hamilton is also at a point-per-game pace with a line of 10-18-28 in 27 games.

"They play hard, they're a relentless team. We saw it in the playoffs," said Kuraly. "They're a young team with a lot of skill and they've got some guys playing really well right now. Obviously, a well-structured team that will present plenty of challenges. I think it will be a great game."

Video: Kuraly Speaks to Media Ahead of Game vs. Hurricanes

Bergeron Skates Again

Patrice Bergeron, who will miss his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury, skated on his own again Tuesday morning. Cassidy said that there is no timeline for the center's return, but that he expected Bergeron to travel for next week's road trip - Ottawa, Washington, Tampa, Florida from Dec. 9-14.

"I don't want to pick a date," said Cassidy. "I'm guessing Thursday he's doubtful seeing as we only have one practice. Saturday's probably a better timeline, or as late as Monday. I'm sure he'll be on the trip unless he has a setback. That's the best I can give you right now."

Wait, There's More

  • John Moore has been medically cleared after offseason shoulder surgery and could return to the lineup on Thursday night against Chicago. The blue liner played for the P-Bruins in Charlotte on Sunday and notched an assist in his first game action since the Stanley Cup Final. "Had a good game, felt good, got some of the rust off, got some of the uncertainties taken care of in terms of puck retrieval, getting hit," said Cassidy. "Put himself in situations where he had to rely on his shoulder. He passed the test. We had discussed probably Thursday anyway with the medical staff, coaching staff, and him. That was kind of the plan. We'll see if we stick with it Thursday."
  • Brett Ritchie (infection) practiced on Tuesday, but Cassidy opted to keep his lineup the same. The winger has not played since Nov. 23 against Minnesota. "If we needed him, he could play tonight," said Cassidy. "For him, it's just lack of activity with the group, battling. When you look at Brett, he's been in and out with this injury. Hopefully this is it. We've given it a little more time to take care of itself. I can't promise you that, neither can he, but that's the hope.It's been a lot of starting and stopping for him, so he's got some catching up to do in that regard. Trying to get him into some battles, some competitiveness, some hockey situations…that's the challenge he has in front of him."

Video: John Moore Excited & Emotional As Comeback Approaches

Tuesday's Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand - David Krejci - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen

Anders Bjork - Sean Kuraly - David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner

 

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton

 

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Video: Cassidy Praises Jaro Halak Before 500th NHL Game

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