Bruins Game 31 Preview: Arizona Coyotes

DeBrusk Yotes

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Arizona Coyotes are in town to take on the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. They are skating into TD Garden having lost their last two games against the Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks. This, however, came after a four-game winning streak.

The Bruins have trended in a polar direction. They dropped three games in a row before winning their last two contests against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. They will be looking to increase their winning streak to three victories while the Coyotes will be looking to end their two-game slide.

Who’s Hot?

Torey Krug has been on fire. He has contributed to five of Boston’s last eight tallies with two goals and three helpers in his last two games. The Bruins’ power play has benefitted from Krug’s return to action after missing a big chunk of the season due to an injury suffered during the preseason. He has two goals and 15 assists in 19 games – 10 of those helpers coming on the man advantage.

David Krejci has two goals and two assists in his last three games. One of those helpers came on Krug’s overtime-winning goal on Sunday. The centerman hasn’t crumbled under the pressure of filling Bergeron’s skates. In the 10 games without Bergeron, Krejci has scored two goals and tallied five helpers.

Arizona Coytes at Boston Bruins

(Inside Hockey/ Brian Fluharty)

Clayton Keller took the league by storm last year, finishing third in the Calder Trophy race. In his last five games, Keller has put up two goals and four assists, adding to his team-leading total of 20 points in 28 games. This puts him on pace for 58 points this season, which would fall short of his 65 points from last season. Nevertheless, Keller is always a threat and the Bruins will have to keep close tabs on him on Tuesday evening.

Who’s Not?

When injuries struck, Steven Kampfer was reliable defensively – at least at first. He logged time on the second defensive pair but has seen most of his time on the bottom unit. Kampfer isn’t expected to contribute much offensively, but just one assist in 18 games is bothersome. Coupling this with the bad penalties he has taken, Kampfer has gone from reliable to inconsistent for Boston thus far. The Bruins will likely need Kampfer in the lineup for an extended period of time as Kevan Miller and Zdeno Chara continue to recover with injuries. He has shown that he has what it takes to help plug the holes – he just needs to find more consistency.

Darcy Kuemper will be getting the start for the Coyotes on Tuesday. He enters play with a 4-5-2 record accompanied by a 2.71 GAA and .914 SV%. Kuemper hasn’t started since Nov. 21st which could either work for or against him. We’ll soon see if the time off has him fresh and ready to go or if he will be rusty having not played in nearly three weeks.

Bruins vs. Coyotes Outlook

Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson will be appearing in his 700th NHL game on Tuesday in Boston. The 31-year-old has 24 goals and 131 assists in the 699 games prior.

Arizona has been a hot-and-cold team all season long. They currently have a record of 13-13-2, following up a number of winning streaks with three-to-four game slides. The Bruins will be hoping to tack on to Arizona’s current two-game losing streak. The Bruins have also been hot and cold, though not quite as much as the Coyotes.

Tuukka Rask will be starting for Boston. Meanwhile, Jake DeBrusk has been ruled out with an upper-body injury.  The Bruins are coming off two big wins against division foes and will look to carry the confidence those two games bred into their date with Arizona.

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