After coming up short in a Northeast Division showdown, the Boston Bruins look to get back on track and continue their season-long dominance on home ice.
A date with reeling Carolina should provide them with a good opportunity to do so, despite the Hurricanes' recent domination of the series.
The Bruins will try for their eighth win in nine home games Monday night when they take on the Hurricanes, losers of four straight.
Boston (24-9-4) missed out on a chance to move atop the Northeast with a 2-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday. Daniel Paille scored for the Bruins, who had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell three points behind the first-place Canadiens.
Boston holds a six-point lead for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs that comes with it.
The Bruins have the best home record in the conference at 13-2-2 and have limited opponents to 13 goals while going 7-0-1 in their last eight in Boston.
Tuukka Rask has posted a 4-0-1 record with two shutouts and a 1.55 goals-against average in his last five home starts, while backup Anton Khudobin has won all four of his home starts with a 1.75 GAA.
Khudobin made 29 saves in a 5-3 road win over the Hurricanes on Jan. 28.
Whoever starts in net for the Bruins will be facing a Carolina team that's struggled to score and defend during a rough three-plus weeks. The Hurricanes (16-19-2) have been outscored 46-18 in going 1-10-1 in their last 12.
The club's only offense Saturday came from Zac Dalpe, who scored after being called up from Charlotte of the AHL hours before a 4-1 home loss to the New York Rangers.
The absence of forward Alexander Semin, who has 10 goals and a team-high 26 assists, due to an upper-body injury didn't help. He is listed as day-to-day.
"Losing's not fun. It's not fun for anybody to watch. It's not fun for anybody to play,' captain Eric Staal said.
Staal, the team points leader with 41, may be able to give the Hurricanes an offensive boost in this contest. He had a goal and an assist in the first meeting and has scored one goal in each of his last four in the series.
Carolina has totaled 17 goals during a 4-1-0 stretch against the Bruins.
The Hurricanes' Dan Ellis, 0-5-1 with a 3.61 GAA in his last seven starts, has allowed seven goals in two career starts - both losses - against the Bruins.
Boston, however, has also struggled to put the puck in the net recently. The Bruins have managed to go 3-2-0 in their last five despite scoring eight goals. They're 1 for 21 on the power play in their last 11 contests.
It hasn't helped that leading scorer Patrice Bergeron is out indefinitely with a concussion.
"We recognized that we have to be better and get some more shots," Rask told the team's official website.
Defenseman Zdeno Chara has four goals and five assists in his last nine against the Hurricanes. However, he hasn't scored a goal in 12 games, with just four assists in that span.
The Hurricanes have won three of the last four meetings in Boston.
The Associated Press News Service
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