The Bruins & 'Canes collide again tonight/By S. Bradley

Comparing the stakes for tonight’s Bruins game at Carolina and those the two franchises played for in the Eastern Conference semifinals some 20 months ago would be like comparing the retirement of Regis Philbin to the resignation of a sitting president.

However, after walloping the Hurricanes, 7-0, yesterday at TD Garden, the Bruins can take the ice in Raleigh tonight equipped with the lessons they learned in the spring of ’09. They know that, in general, a Carolina team built around the likes of Eric Staal, Erik Cole, Tim Gleason and Cam Ward, does payback pretty well. After dropping Game 1 to Boston in that playoff season, Carolina came back and won the series in seven games.

“Well they’re a team that gets emotional and competes and skates hard and then wants to win. They were doing real well before [Monday’s] game so obviously they’re going to want to bounce back,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron after yesterday’s clash. “And we know they’re pretty good in their building and they’re a team that never quits. You know we’ve seen it two years ago.”

By winning four of their last five, the Bruins have surged to second in the East and separated themselves a bit from the race for a bottom-half playoff spot. A regulation loss tonight would pull them right back into the muddle that is the postseason picture.

You can expect it to be a physical contest, as the ‘Canes will be looking to regain their manhood in addition to their proper proficiency of play after taking one of their worst beatings in years. It should be a grand atmosphere at the RBC Center.

“Well I guess it’s kind of like the playoff-type feeling, where you’re playing the same team back to back. Things can carry over from games, so obviously they’re not going to be happy with how things went,” said defenseman Adam McQuaid. “They’re going to come out hard [Tuesday], so we got to make sure we come out with the same effort that we did [Monday].”