By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Following an incredible point streak, the Bruins are entering tonight’s game against the Jets with two straight regulation losses – to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets. On Tuesday, March 12th, the Bruins fell to the Blue Jackets by a final score of 7-4. Boston was at one point, down 5-1, but made an effort to come back, making it 5-4 before Columbus added two more to seal the deal. The Bruins are four points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic with 12 games remaining.
The Winnipeg Jets are in a tight battle right now for the top spot in the Central Division. The Jets hold a mere one point advantage on the Nashville Predators with three games in hand, but Winnipeg does have three more regulation-plus-overtime wins already in the bank. Winnipeg is coming into the game losers of their last two and are 4-6-0 in their last ten games.
BOS: Tuukka Rask 24-9-5 2.41 GAA .918 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 7-4 Loss to CBJ
WPG: Connor Hellebuyck 28-20-2 3.01 GAA .909 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 5-4 Loss to SJS
Even if the Bruins are losing, Brad Marchand has been consistently dominating in 2018-19 and lately, that has been on display more than ever. Marchand is riding high on an eight-game point streak with three of them being three-point outings. Against Columbus, Marchand scored his 29th and 30th goal of the season, reaching the 30-goal mark for the fourth straight season. Marchand also matched his career-high in points (85) doing so in 69 games.
Blake Wheeler has sixteen points in his last ten games. That usually means that you’re having yourself a solid stretch and an even more solid season – which he has. Wheeler has 19-65-84 numbers in 69 games for the Jets this season, only eight points away from breaking his career-high 91 points that he set in the 2017-18 season. Wheeler not only leads his team in points but is a crucial leader in the locker room for the younger players on the roster.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are almost always together in something, and they are two of the hottest players right now for Boston. Bergeron has nine points in his last eight contests and at one stage, had three shorthanded goals in only five games played. Bergeron has continued to be one of the best, if not the best, two-way forward in the National Hockey League and is always a threat to any opposing line.
Tuukka Rask had an unbelievable stretch from the end of December to the beginning of March, but the Bruins starting goaltender is entering the game in Winnipeg after being pulled from the crease after allowing five goals on 24 shots against. Of course, when that happens, usually the team around him is not great. Rask could have, however, played better and will be expected to do so tonight.
Mark Scheifele is second on the Jets for most points in the ’18/’19 season, but in the last four games, the 25-year-old has zero points and is a -2 rating during that period. Scheifele has been averaging around the 20-minute mark for each of the four games but has not been able to contribute as much offensively as his 75 points suggest he should. With that said, he can find his groove again at any time, and he remains a big threat to the Bruins defense.
Torey Krug is one of the best offensive defencemen in the entire NHL this season, but in the last two games against the Blue Jackets and Penguins combined, Krug has a -8 rating including a terrible -5 night against the Jackets. Krug also only has two assists in the last five, both coming against the Senators on March 9th. With the injuries to the backend, Boston needs him to be better on the defensive end of the puck.
Patrik Laine is supposed to be one of the top young goal scorers – one that can strike at any moment. While he has shown glimpses of that this year, the Finnish sniper has no goals in the last six games played, even though he has four assists in the same period. Laine has only 29 goals which are still impressive, but will most likely not match his 44 goals from last season and the goals that he has scored, have come in spread out games – proving this long stretch of no goals.
- D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
- F Patrice Bergeron is one point away (799) from 800 career NHL points
- F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history
- F Mark Scheifele is one goal away (145) from passing Vyacheslav Koslov (125) for sole possession of 4th most goals in Jets history
- F Mark Scheifele is one power-play goal away (36) from passing Andrew Ladd (36) for sole possession of 7th most PPG in Jets history
Bruins vs. Jets Outlook
The Bruins and Jets will meet tonight for the second time this season, and because the two franchises are in opposite conferences, it will also be the final time that these two will play one another in the 2018-19 season. Back on January 29th, the Jets took a 4-3 shootout win over Boston in the TD Garden. Kyle Connor scored two regulation goals and the eventual shootout winner to help lead Winnipeg to the win.
As mentioned earlier, both Boston and Winnipeg are in tight battles for divisional spots as we head closer to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs later in April. This makes this game all-the-more meaningful as a win, or even just a point could be massive on either end of the ice tonight.
Boston has the 3rd-best power-play (26.2%) and the 9th-best penalty-kill (81.3%) while the Jets have the 4th-best power-play (25.3%) and the 24th-best penalty-kill (79.0%). The specialty teams will most likely be a deciding factor in who wins the game tonight. Below are the projected lines for the B’s. Puck drop is scheduled for 8pm EST from the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.