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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Hurricanes Saturday 10-3

Ex-Bruin Aaron Ward is now one of goaltender Cam Ward's best friends in Carolina.

The Carolina Hurricanes return to the scene of the crime tonight at TD Garden, as they come back to the building where Scott Walker and the ‘Canes stole a Game 7 overtime victory from the top-seeded Bruins in the second round of last season’s playoffs. After the heated seven-game series last spring, these two squads surely know each other all too well.

A few morsels of tasty game-related tidbits to sink your teeth into, before tonight’s big game…

  • Both teams are coming off opening game losses, as Carolina dropped their opener last night to the Flyers, 2-0, at RBC Center in Raleigh. Both Philly goals were scored in the second period, during a double minor penalty served by ex-Bruin Sergei Samsonov.
  • Speaking of ex-Bruins, beyond Samsonov, there are three other ex-B’s on the ‘Canes roster this season. Of course, one of the bigger offseason moves by Boston sent defenseman Aaron Ward back to Carolina in exchange for forward Patrick Eaves, who the Bruins later released. Ward won one of his two Stanley Cup championships while playing for Carolina in 2006. Also from last year’s Bruins squad is center Stephane Yelle, who spent just one season in black & gold. On defense, old friend Andrew Alberts joined Carolina in the offseason, after spending time with Philadelphia.
  • Also with some local flair, in the Carolina minors is Milton, MA born Michael Ryan, the BC High School and Northeastern University graduate. The 29-year-old Ryan played in 18 games for the Hurricanes last season, notching two assists. Ryan will begin the year in the AHL.
  • Carolina was led last season by big forward Eric Staal, whose 40 goals were good enough for fifth in the league last year. He is teamed with veteran Ray Whitney, who put up 24 goals and 53 assists last year.
  • In net, the Hurricanes are led by Cam Ward, who earlier this week scored a hefty six-year, $37.8 million contract extension with the team. Ward posted a 39-23-5 record last year, with a 2.44 GAA.
  • In the regular season, Carolina didn’t win a game in four tries against Boston. Zdeno Chara and the B’s defense kept leading scorer Staal pointless in the four games. Of course, those trends changed in the postseason.
  • After finishing out the regular season with a 17-5-2 record in their last 24 games, Carolina became only the second team in NHL history to win two Game 7s on the road in the same playoff year, topping New Jersey and Boston, before being ousted by eventual champion Pittsburgh.
  • Judging by this morning’s team skate, the Bruins will send Tim Thomas to the ice tonight, looking to rebound after letting in four goals Thursday night against the Capitals.
  • During the second period tonight, the Bruins and the TD Garden will honor long-time Bruins broadcaster Fred Cusick, who passed away last month at age 90. Cusick, who spent almost 50 years covering the Bruins for both radio and television, will have his name tied to the Bruins’ home television broadcast booth tonight, similar to the way the Celtics have dedicated their broadcast booth to the late Johnny Most.

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