RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins meet in a first-round NHL playoffs series starting Monday.

The Hurricanes are coming off the most successful regular-season in franchise history, a second straight year with a division title and the third-best record in the NHL.

Yet so much about how the Hurricanes will be remembered comes with how they perform in the playoffs. The Hurricanes are in the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

“Everything you do is built towards the Stanley Cup,” veteran defenseman Ian Cole said. “(Brind’Amour has) been saying: ”I’m not here for the short term. I know we’re going to make the playoffs. This is how do we best put ourselves in a position to win the Stanley Cup five months from now.′ It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

The Bruins eliminated the Hurricanes in the first two of those seasons. Carolina won the three regular-season meetings by a combined score of 16-1. Game 1 is Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Hurricanes beginning the playoffs without starter Frederik Andersen because of injury threatens to throw off the balance of the series that begins Monday. Brind’Amour said Andersen would not play in Game 1 Monday and there’s no timetable for the Dane’s return.

Now the biggest question for Carolina becomes whether the rest of the team can make up for Andersen’s absence in front of either Antti Raanta or rookie Pyotr Kochetkov.

The Hurricanes lost in the second round last year, got knocked out by Boston in the bubble in the same round in 2020 and were swept by the Bruins in the conference final in 2019. Nothing close to that will be acceptable this time around.

“Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” Cole said recently. “That is it. Anything short of that is a failure of a season. So from Day One, our goal has been to win the Stanley Cup. Nothing else is acceptable.”

Boston can similarly set that lofty goal thanks to high-end talent like Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The Bruins are leaning on rookie Jeremy Swayman in net but also got elite defenseman Hampus Lindholm at the trade deadline and are built to win now.