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This year’s Black Friday tilt is a big one for the Bruins

In the annual after-Thanksgiving matinee, the Black and Gold face off with the Hurricanes for the first time since last spring's playoff ouster.

Jared C. Tilton
Patrice Bergeron (center) and Brad Marchand (right) each wore a look of disappointment as they congratulated the Hurricanes following the Bruins' Game 7 playoff loss last May.

Since the annual tradition began in 1990, the Bruins hosting a game on the afternoon after Thanksgiving has become an extension of the holiday for Boston sports fans — with hardcore puck parishioners suggesting that nothing pairs better with next-day leftovers than hockey on ice.

And this year’s serving promises to have a little extra gravy to it.

This year, the Bruins will welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to TD Garden for their Black Friday matinee. It will represent the first time the teams have faced off since Carolina eliminated Boston from the playoffs last spring, when the Hurricanes got the better of the Bruins in a decisive Game 7.

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The B’s hung tough in that series, winning three games, which was something of an accomplishment in itself given how wholly the Hurricanes had dominated them during the regular season. In three 2021-22 meetings prior to the first-round series, Carolina swept Boston by an aggregate count of 16-1, including wins of 7-0 and 6-1 at TD Garden.

That makes Black Friday not only a chance for the Bruins to exact a sliver of revenge — but also perhaps to validate their strong start to this still-young season. Boston went an NHL-best 8-1-0 in October, with stars like David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron leading the way up front, Linus Ullmark delivering a sizzling month in net, and new coach Jim Montgomery pressing the right buttons from behind the bench.

Such a start renewed hopes that an aging core might have one more run in them — but first they’ve got to prove they can skate with a strong Eastern Conference contender like the Hurricanes.

And as the first part of the Garden’s Black Friday doubleheader — with the Celtics and Kings following at 8 p.m. — they’ll have that Turkey-fueled chance on Nov. 25.

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