Hurricanes’ conference-finals contingencies remain fluid

The Carolina Hurricanes could start the Eastern Conference finals as soon as Thursday in Boston or Friday at home, and where and when all depends not only on what happens Monday night but on the NHL, NBA and NBC as well.

The Hurricanes would start on the road if the Boston Bruins win their second-round series, at home if the Columbus Blue Jackets win. Beyond that, there are a lot of moving parts but a few likely scenarios.

If the Bruins win Game 6 on Monday, the next round is most likely to start Thursday in Boston, with the second game on Saturday or Sunday and the Hurricanes hosting Games 3 and 4 the middle of next week. If the Blue Jackets force a Game 7, things get more complicated.

A Columbus win in Boston on Wednesday would potentially lead to the Hurricanes hosting Game 1 on Friday with Game 2 at PNC Arena on Sunday. A Bruins win would see the Hurricanes travel to Boston for Game 1 on Saturday with Game 2 on Monday or Tuesday and Games 3 and 4 at PNC on some combination of Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday.

All of these scenarios remain fluid as the NHL and NBC work through the schedule. The biggest complication – beyond the demands of NBC, which is also waiting on the Western Conference to resolve itself – is the Boston Celtics, who are down 2-1 in their second-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks going into Monday night’s Game 4 but have a potential home games scheduled for Friday. Until the Celtics are eliminated, the Bruins have to negotiate TD Garden dates with their NBA roommate.

Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.