By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian Bruins fans (including myself) and a Happy Columbus Day to all of our American Bruins fans. To celebrate, the Boston Bruins have their first matinee game of the 2019-20 season – a home game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins were victorious, 3-0 over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night and look to win their second consecutive game today.
On the other side of the rink, the Ducks will be equally ready. The Ducks matched the best start to a season in franchise history with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday. To begin the year, Anaheim is 4-1-0 and is 2-1-0 on their four-game road trip that ends today against the Bruins.
BOS: Jaroslav Halak 1-1-0 1.53 GAA .957 SV% Last Game: 32 Saves in 4-2 Loss vs COL
ANA: John Gibson (Likely) 3-1-0 1.26 GAA .961 SV% Last Game: 26 Saves in 2-1 Loss vs PIT
Another game, another strong performance for Brad Marchand and his season-starting hot streak is continuing full steam ahead. In Saturday’s win over the Devils, Marchand scored the eventual game-winning goal in the first period while adding in an assist later in the game for his second multi-point game of the year. Marchand now has 4-3-7 numbers in five games.
After five games played, there is one lone player atop the Anaheim Ducks player stats – 23-year-old winger Ondrej Kase. The 205th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has one goal and three assists this season and continues to look to play better and better, especially considering the fact that he missed a large portion of the 2018-19 campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery. The former 20-goal scorer can be a threat in this league and has done well throughout ’19/’20 thus far.
Patrice Bergeron scored his first goal of the season against New Jersey, extending his point streak to four games. Bergeron has been apart of the dangerous first line of the Bruins and has been dominant on the faceoff dot as well – to no one’s surprise, winning 55.77% of faceoffs taken this season. On the season now, the 34-year-old has 1-3-4 numbers in five games and will look to extend it against Anaheim today.
At one point in his career, Adam Henrique was a 50-point scorer in the National Hockey League, most recently hitting the plateau in the 2015-2016 season. Last season, the 29-year-old scored 42-points for the Ducks but has only one goal to begin the 2019-20 campaign – keeping him on a three-game pointless streak. Henrique has seen a jump in ice time over the past two games, so a breakout is possible soon.
Charlie Coyle was brought to the Bruins roster at the Trade Deadline last year and had himself a playoff run to remember, scoring big goals and adding depth scoring to the Boston team that helped push them to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Unfortunately this season, Coyle has only one assist in five games and has not found great chemistry at this point in time. We are still early on in the year, but the lack of offensive production should hopefully end soon.
Other than those two, not too many players on either roster are struggling. Both teams are near the top of the NHL right now and both teams bring their own style and strengths – looking good early to cap it all off.
- F Patrice Bergeron is one assist away (495) from tying Rick Middleton (496) for 6th-most assists in Bruins history
- F Adam Henrique is playing in his 600th NHL regular-season game
- F Ryan Getzlaf is one even-strength goal away (176) from tying Paul Kariya (177) for 3rd-most even-strength goals in Ducks history
Bruins vs Ducks Outlook
Being in opposing conferences, the Bruins and Ducks only meet twice a year, but each game brings a different story and usually produces an entertaining hockey game. In 36 games between the two franchises, the Bruins have a 15-18-2-1 record against the California team – winning both games (3-0 and 3-1) in 2018-19.
On the official NHL standings today, both the Ducks and the Bruins are in the top-six in the league in points and with identical records, have the same amount of points. The Ducks have a better goal differential in comparison to Boston, scoring eleven goals while only allowing six against. Boston has scored twelve goals but allowed eight against over five games played.
Anaheim is known for being a big, physical team who, when hot, can be a hard team to pick up a win against. Goaltender John Gibson is expected to get the start, even though he has not been confirmed to be the starting netminder as of 11:45am EST, making it a tough matchup for the B’s. Gibson has a 3-1-0 record with a 1.26 goals-against-average and a .961 save percentage.
Specialty teams are a big factor in hockey games throughout the past few seasons and this game is evidence of that as well. The Bruins boast a 23% success rate on the power-play, (17th in NHL), and a 78.6% success rate on the penalty-kill (17th in NHL).
Anaheim is one of four teams to have yet to score a power-play goal, coming up short on all ten man-advantages presented to them. However, that is balanced out somewhat by their third-ranked penalty-kill percentage, killing off 93% of the penalties that they take. It should be interesting to see the battle of the strong Bruins power-play to Anaheim’s strong PK.
Bruins forward Brett Ritchie will lace up the skates against his brother, Nick Ritchie, today as well. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.