ESPN experts overwhelmingly pick Hurricanes to beat Bruins

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The Bruins have made it clear that they don't think their 0-3 round-robin performance matters. The so-called experts apparently aren't buying it.

ESPN released their staff picks for the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday, and 13 of the 15 people in their poll are picking the Hurricanes to beat the Bruins in the first round.

Among those picking Carolina are big names like John Buccigross, Linda Cohn, Barry Melrose and Greg Wyshynski. The only two picking Boston are Pierre Becquey and Tim Kavanagh.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was asked about the predictions during his pregame press conference and whether it could provide any extra motivation or bulletin board material, but he said he doesn't concern himself with any of that.

"I don’t concern myself with predictions," Cassidy said. "We’ll be ready to play. We came into this with a mindset that we were going to build towards Game 1, and our intention is to be in it for the long haul. That’s a bit of the reasoning behind it. We do have to improve areas of our game if we expect to beat Carolina. Our guys do have a recent history against them in terms of this year, the game we played, we won, last year in the playoffs. But, a lot of that has changed. This almost feels like a brand-new season for obvious reasons.

"We have to prove it on the ice tonight. We feel there are certain areas that we can play well against them. There are areas that we have to make sure we’re on the ball in terms of the pace of their game and their foot speed and us getting back on pucks and supporting pucks so that we can play with the puck. And once we have it, we feel that there’s areas we can do some damage but until we get going here, who knows. That’s the game plan and I think our guys are up for it."

For what it's worth, despite the expert picks, the Bruins are still slight favorites in the betting market.

Game 1 is Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

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