By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Seven-consecutive wins and an undefeated (regulation) home record is the story of the Boston Bruins right now and it is showing on the standings. As of December 3rd, the Bruins are first in the overall league standings with a record of 15-3-5, tied with the Washington Capitals in points, but have an edge in ROW (regulation plus overtime wins). Boston won their last game 3-1 over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday after trailing the game 1-0 for nearly the entire first two periods.
After surprising the league by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Carolina Hurricanes are aiming to prove that it was not a coincidence, but that they deserved to be there. Carolina is in the top-ten in the league with a record of 16-10-1, including a 7-3-0 stretch in their last ten games. The Canes last defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by a final score of 3-2 on November 30th.
BOS: Jaroslav Halak 6-1-3 2.35 GAA .930 SV% Last Game: 26 Saves in 3-2 OT win vs NYR
CAR: Petr Mrazek (Not Confirmed) 11-6-1 2.68 GAA .901 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 3-0 loss vs NSH
On Sunday against Montreal, David Pastrnak unleashed a rocket of a slapshot as he entered the zone that not only beat Carey Price, but started the three-goal onslaught that would later secure a Bruins victory. Pastrnak’s goal was his 25th of the 2019-20 season, reaching the halfway point to 50 goals and it is only December 3rd. Pastrnak has a five-goal lead on Capitals’ forward Alex Ovechkin for the most goals in the league while playing in one less game than the scoring legend.
Former Boston Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton has seemingly finally found success with a team over in Carolina. The 26-year-old leads all defensemen in the NHL with ten goals in his 27 games played this season while adding 18 assists for 28 points. Hamilton is on pace to crush his season totals for 2018-19 where he scored 18-21-39 numbers in a full 82-game season. The 9th-overall pick by Boston in the 2011 Entry Draft has 1-4-5 totals in his last five games including a two-assist night against Tampa Bay.
With Patrice Bergeron dealing with a nagging injury lately, the Bruins have had to fall back on David Krejci to man the first-line center as well as the first power-play unit and he has done great. The 33-year-old Krejci has 5-15-20 numbers in 21 games this year and has seven points in his last five. Krejci has been seeing around eighteen minutes of ice-time per game for the last three games and has not failed to come up big. Krejci will look to continue that success tonight against the Hurricanes.
Nino Niederreiter was acquired by Carolina in January of last season and went on to dominate, scoring 14-16-30 numbers in 36 games played, adding another four points in fifteen playoff games. However, this season, the 5th-overall selection in the 2010 NHL Draft only has 3-7-10 numbers in 27 games and is pointless in each of his last six contests and has seen decreases in his playing time during this bad stretch.
There has not been a whole lot of negative pieces to the Boston Bruins puzzle on this seven-game winning streak. The team has done a great job staying in games and playing to their style, performing numerous comeback wins against the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadiens. When a player does make an error, such as Heinen against the Rangers or Chara against the Canadiens, the rest of the team comes around them and it doesn’t happen again.
- G Jaroslav Halak will play in his 500th career NHL game
- F David Krejci is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
- F Charlie Coyle is two goals away (98) from 100 career NHL goals
- F Jake DeBrusk is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points
- F Jordan Staal is three assists away (297) from 300 career NHL assists
- D Dougie Hamilton is five assists away (195) from 200 career NHL assists
Bruins vs Hurricanes Outlook:
For the first time since their Eastern Conference Finals series, the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes will play one another. Last year, the Bruins won the season series over the Canes, winning two out of the three games they played. In the playoffs, the two met in the Conference Finals, where the Bruins swept the Hurricanes in four-straight games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Tonight’s game will not only be the first time that these two teams meet again, but it will also be a big test as both squads are within the top-ten teams in the NHL – with Boston taking the number one position right now. Boston is coming into the game as the best team defensively, averaging the lowest goals-against-per-game on average, allowing 2.26 goals against. The B’s are also second in the NHL for goals-for, scoring at a rate of 3.67 goals-for-per-game. Boston also has the best goal-differential in the league at +34.
Carolina has also been putting up goals, averaging 3.22 goals-for-per-game – 11th best in the National Hockey League. On the defence side of things, the Canes are no slouches either. They have the 8th-best goals-against-per-game at an average of 2.81 and they have a goal-differential of +12, fifth in the Eastern Conference and seventh in the league.
Speciality teams is still a hot topic for the Bruins, as they continue to score on the man-advantage with a 31.6% success rate (2nd in NHL). In Sunday’s win over Montreal, David Backes scored the eventual game-winning tally on the power-play in the third-period. Boston also has the seventh-best penalty-kill in the game – thriving at a 84.5% kill rate. Carolina has the ninth-best power-play (21.2%) and the eighth-best penalty-kill (84.4%).
Bruins Projected Lineup:
According to Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, forward Patrice Bergeron will not play tonight but he said that he can see him playing on the upcoming trip if there are no setbacks. Defenceman John Moore remains out of the lineup, but could return on Thursday and forward Brett Ritchie will be a scratch. Halak gets the start in goal.