The GIST: After two anxiety-inducing Game 7s, the stage is finally set for the NHL Conference Finals, with the Boston Bruins playing the Carolina “Bunch of Jerks” Hurricanes in the East, and the St. Louis Blues playing the WINNER OF TONIGHT’S GAME in the West.
Boston vs. Carolina, a preview: Boston won two of the three games against Carolina this season and finished second in the Atlantic Division, while Carolina just snuck into the playoffs as a wild card, finishing fourth in the Metropolitan Division.
While the Bruins have home-ice advantage and are favoured to win, you can never count Carolina down and out. They beat out the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Washington Capitals, in the first round, and then they swept the NY Islanders in four games in the second round. Talk about an underdog story.
The Bruins will start the series without star defenceman Charlie McAvoy. He’s serving a one game suspension for this nasty head check on Columbus Blue Jackets’ Josh Anderson in Game 6. Now that’s a jerk move. McAvoy was given just a two-minute minor during the game (the league can review a play and hand out suspensions later) so reffing continues to cause serious controversy in this year’s playoffs.
Players to watch? Bruins’ Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and Canes’ Justin Williams and Jordan Staal.
The puck drops for the Eastern Conference Final tonight at 8 p.m. ET in Boston.
St. Louis vs. TEAM, a preview: St. Louis getting this far in the playoffs is an amazing feat. In January, they were literally dead last in the NHL, but, with much thanks to Canadian rookie netminder Jordan Binnington, they were able to climb out of their hole and make it.
And their story only got better this week, coming off an incredible double-overtime Game 7 win over the Dallas Stars. And let us tell you, it was emotional AF. If that game is any indication of how St. Louis will play for the conference finals, X TEAM is going to be in tough.