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Despite winter storm in North Carolina, Bruins vs. ‘Canes game will go on as scheduled

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On Saturday, North Carolina was hit pretty hard by a winter storm, which left most of the city paralyzed because of icy road conditions.

According to the Weather Channel, parts of North Carolina were hit by as many as 12 inches of snow, 0.15 inches of ice and an inch of sleet thanks to winter storm Helena.

There was some doubt as to whether or not this evening’s game between the Bruins and Hurricanes would take place, but the NHL decided that cancelling the game wasn’t necessary.

Here’s an excerpt of the release from the Hurricanes’ website:

The National Hockey League confirmed Sunday that the game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins on Sunday at 5 p.m. will be played as scheduled. Both teams and the NHL officials are in Raleigh.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency in conjunction with the winter storm that passed through the state on Saturday. Fans uncomfortable traveling to PNC Arena for today’s game may exchange their unused tickets for any remaining regular-season Hurricanes home game, with the exception of Jan. 20.

As you might recall, the Hurricanes were already forced to move a game last month because of poor ice conditions at PNC Arena. Finding a replacement date for that one was hard enough, so unless weather conditions were absolutely unbearable, there was no way they could afford to postpone another game.

The NHL isn’t the only sporting event that’s refusing to postpone games on Sunday. The NCAA men’s basketball game between North Carolina and North Carolina State, which was already rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday, will not be moved again.

Marchand, Rask shine as Bruins blank Panthers

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Brad Marchand scored two goals, Tuukka Rask had 25 saves and the Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 on Saturday night.

Riley Nash and David Backes also scored, helping the Bruins improve to 4-0 against the Panthers this season. Rask got his fifth shutout of the season.

Florida’s James Reimer made 33 saves in his fourth straight start. Roberto Luongo, who missed Friday’s 2-1 victory against Nashville with an upper-body injury, is day to day.

The Panthers have lost six of their last eight games.

Marchand’s second goal made it 3-0 at 9:40 of the second. Torey Krug‘s power-play shot from the high slot was blocked, but Marchand swept in the rebound.

Marchand, who leads Boston with 12 goals and 34 points, also had a short-handed goal at 12:48 of the first. He grabbed the puck from Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, skated in, and backhanded the puck between Reimer’s glove and the post.

The Bruins went ahead 2-0 when Backes tipped in a shot from David Krejci at 4:13 of the second. Backes missed the previous three games with a concussion.

Nash poked in the puck off Reimer’s body and into the net at 4:59 of the third.

NOTES: Panthers F Greg McKegg left in the second period with an upper-body injury. … Florida C Nick Bjugstad will miss two weeks with a lower-body injury. … Panthers D Aaron Ekblad played in his 200th NHL game. … The Panthers recalled goaltender Sam Brittain from the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL to back up Reimer. … The Bruins recalled Zane McIntyre from Providence of the AHL to back up Rask. McIntyre has played in three games this season (0-2-0).

UP NEXT

Bruins: Visit Carolina on Sunday.

Panthers: Visit New Jersey on Monday.

Bruins recall McIntyre, who could get a start this weekend

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As expected, the Boston Bruins have recalled goalie Zane McIntyre from the AHL, and they’ve assigned goalie Anton Khudobin to Providence.

From the press release:

McIntyre, 24, is undefeated with Providence in 2016-17, compiling a 10-0-0 record. The 6-foot-2, 206-pound netminder leads the AHL in goals against average (1.41) and save percentage (.951), and was recognized as AHL Goalie of the Month for December. 

He has also played in three games with Boston this season, posting a 0-2-0 record with a 4.04 goals against average and .859 save percentage. He also played two games with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL, recording a 1.99 goals against average and .931 save percentage.

The B’s start a four-game road trip Saturday at Florida. McIntyre may even start that one, as the Bruins also play Sunday at Carolina.

Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 25 shots in last night’s 4-3 loss to the Oilers. The B’s (20-17-4) are at risk of falling out of a playoff spot. They’re only two points up on Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division, and the Leafs have four games in hand.

Related: Khudobin hasn’t solved the Bruins’ backup goalie problem

Schneider shuts out Bruins to help Devils get much-needed win

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The New Jersey Devils entered Monday’s game against the Boston Bruins trending in the wrong direction in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

They had won just five of their previous 22 games, had fallen to 13th place in the conference, and their player — goaltender Cory Schneiderseemed to be getting frustrated.

So with that in mind, their 3-0 win over the Bruins was a pretty good way for them to start the new calendar year.

Schneider was able to stop all 22 shots he faced on Monday to record his second shutout of the season, while P.A. Parenteau, Sergay Kalinin and Taylor Hall were able to provide the offense.

It has to be a positive sign for the Devils to see Schneider get the shutout because he has struggled through a disappointing first half that has seen him post some of the worst numbers of his career. He entered play on Monday with a .904 save percentage after consistently being near the top of the league over the past three years.

If the Devils are going to find a way to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race they are going to need Schneider to play the way he has in recent years. He has too much of a track record and too much talent to keep playing at the level we saw this season and it was only a matter of time before he started to get back to his game. Perhaps this is where that turnaround begins for him.

Speaking of the playoff race, this was a big missed opportunity for the Bruins because they were unable to increase their lead over Tampa Bay and Toronto in the Atlantic Division. With Monday’s loss the Bruins remain just two points ahead of the Lightning and three points ahead of the Maple Leafs. Tampa Bay has two games in hand on them, while Toronto has four.

Bruins can make it three straight wins tonight

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The return of Frank Vatrano couldn’t have come at a better time for the Boston Bruins, who could be without David Backes for a while.

The B’s announced Saturday that Backes is out indefinitely with a concussion. Vatrano only recently returned to the lineup, after the 22-year-old was forced to undergo offseason surgery to repair torn ligaments in his foot.

In Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the Sabres, Vatrano scored while skating with Backes’ most common linemates, center David Krejci and winger Ryan Spooner.

Not only did Vatrano open the scoring, the local boy got his first-ever goal at TD Garden.

“Being from [Massachusetts], obviously everyone’s dream growing up is to score in the Garden,” said Vatrano, per CSN New England. “For me, it was pretty cool to be able to do that and it was even better that we got a win out of it.”

Saturday’s win was also encouraging because Patrice Bergeron scored again. Though he only has seven goals on the season, he has three in his last five games.

On top of that, the B’s got a goal from a bottom-six forward. Halfway through the second period, Tim Schaller cut hard to the net and made it 3-0 on a backhand that somehow fooled Robin Lehner.

Read more: It’s been a frustrating season for the Boston Bruins

The B’s will try to make it three straight wins tonight in Newark, where the free-falling Devils have lost four of their last five at Prudential Center and been outscored by a combined margin of 20 to 10.

A Bruins win could catapult them into second place in the Atlantic Division, moving ahead of idle Ottawa.

But the B’s can’t get too comfortable. Not far behind, the Leafs are streaking, and the Lighting and Panthers are fully capable of going on a run.