Whenever it snows below the Mason-Dixon line, panic is generally expected. Without the same means of clean-up as most areas in the North, as well as citizens unfamiliar with freezing temperatures and non-rain precipitation, Southern states seemingly shut down as a result of the rarely-seen snowstorm. So when Winter Storm Helena hit the South East over the past two days, dumping up to a foot of snow in some parts of North Carolina, there was naturally some doubt about whether or not the Carolina Hurricanes game, among many sporting events, would go on as scheduled today.
While the visiting Boston Bruins are likely laughing to themselves over the extreme response to the type of snowstorm that hits New England multiple times every year, they’ll be happy to hear that they didn’t rush to North Carolina after their game last night in Sunrise, Florida for nothing. The NHL has decided that it will not be necessary to move tonight’s Bruins-Hurricanes game, scheduled for a 5pm ET puck-drop. Although the state of North Carolina is in a State of Emergency as a result of the snow, both teams and officials are already in Raleigh and there is no extreme safety risk to those traveling to the game, now that the storm is over and clean-up has begun. For those who choose not to attend, the Hurricanes will allow them to swap tickets with another remaining home game.
While the Bruins wouldn’t have minded an extra day of rest on their current four-game road trip, as they are scheduled to play tonight just 19 hours after their game against the Florida Panthers last night ended, re-scheduling a game can be a difficult task, as the Hurricanes have already experienced this season when ice conditions caused a prior home game to be postponed. The Bruins may also want to keep their momentum going, as they played well in a 4-0 shutout of the Panthers last night following tough losses to the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers. A win over the Hurricanes tonight in front of rookie goalie Zane McIntyre may be the boost they need to take home wins against the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators before heading home to Boston, which also fell victim to Winter Storm Helena yesterday. Meanwhile, Carolina will look to reward their fans willing to brave the snow with a win tonight. The Hurricanes beat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime when these teams met in Boston on December 23rd, and since then Carolina has had quite a stretch of tough games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, and twice against the Chicago Blackhawks. It doesn’t get any easier after tonight, as the ’Canes face the Columbus Blue Jackets three times in their next six games, so they need a win wherever they can get one.