The Bruins are having a typical post-Stanley Cup letdown with just one win in regulation time in the first five games while the Hurricanes have won two straight games including a win over these Bruins in Carolina. Take Carolina as a nice dog.

One of the interdivisional NHL matchups for Tuesday night sees the Carolina Hurricanes (2-2-1 overall, 1-1-1 away) paying a visit to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins (2-3-0 overall, 1-2-0 home) at TD Garden in Boston, MA at 7:00 ET.

Cam WardThe Bruins have had a tough time defending the Cup so far, as only one of their two wins has come in regulation time. Boston needed a shootout to notch its second win of the year in Chicago vs. the Blackhawks on Saturday, and their four points leave the Bruins in third place in the Northeast Division behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.

The Hurricanes had defensive issues early on while getting off to an 0-3 start, but they have since won two in a row, a streak that began with a home win vs. these Bruins and was followed up by a nice road win in Buffalo. One of three Carolina losses was in overtime, so the Canes’ five points has them in third place in the Southeast Division behind the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers.

Carolina upset the Bruins at +116 underdog odds at home last Wednesday and this nice price combined with Boston’s sluggish play early on makes the Hurricanes a nice value play on Tuesday.   

The current odds at 5 Dimes have Carolina as a spicy +145 underdog for this contest.

It is not uncommon for the defending champion from any sport to begin the following season slowly, and the Bruins have indeed seemed affected by a post-Stanley Cup letdown in the early going. Their offense has been especially sluggish, as they have a grand total of nine goals in regulation time in five games, and four of those goals came in their one regulation win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boston has scored just four regulation goals in the last three games, and it got shut out 1-0 the last time it played at home by the Colorado Avalanche. One reason for this offensive ineptness has been the absence of top-line center David Krejci with an abdominal injury. Unfortunately, that is an ongoing problem as Krejci is again doubtful for this game,

The Hurricanes played probably their best all-around game of the season vs. these Bruins last week, and they then showed a lot of gumption in their follow-up win in Buffalo, scoring the winning goal with just 1:24 remaining in regulation time when they could have easily wilted on the road after the Sabres had tied the game in their home opener at 3-3 just 57 seconds earlier.

Another reason that Carolina offers nice value at this price is the matchup between a struggling Boston power play that has scored just one goal in the last 20 chances with the extra attacker vs. a Hurricanes’ penalty-killing unit that has gone a perfect 11 for 11 in killing off power plays during its current two-game winning streak. The dominance of Carolina’s penalty killing was apparent when it staved off all five Boston power play chances last Wednesday.

The Bruins may be home, but they are just 1-2 on their own building so far in defense of the Cup, and the price certainly seems right to take Carolina again in this rematch.

NHL Pick: Hurricanes +145