Maybe this is the coaching change that’s worked. The Boston Bruins have already seen that a new face behind the bench in Tampa hasn’t gotten the Lightning anywhere. But the Carolina Hurricanes, at the TD Banknorth Garden for a matinee today, seem to be responding to new (old) coach Paul Maurice, who took over for the fired Peter Laviolette Dec. 3.
After losing Maurice’s first game in regulation Dec. 4, the ‘Canes have picked up at least a point in the last six and have even won three of those games, including a triumph of Montreal.
One area that’s improved under Maurice is power play productivity. Carolina had gone six games without a man-advantage goal before Maurice took over (25 failed chances) but since then the ‘Canes are a respectable 8-for-43. The Bruins will need to get their feet moving early and shake those matinee cobwebs out to avoid costly penalties.
The season series: This is the first of four meetings between the Bruins and the ‘Canes this season. The Bruins were 1-3-0 vs. Carolina last season. The ‘Canes have won the last four meetings played in Boston.
Carolina Player to Watch: Just in time for him to face the Bruins, veteran forward Eric Staal seems to be heating up. Like the rest of his teammates, Staal started slow after the coaching change. But in the last five games he has recorded five goals and two assists. Staal tortured the Bruins last season with 2-3-5 totals in the four meetings.