Bruins Game 29 Preview: Chicago Blackhawks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)


By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The Boston Bruins are one of the best teams in the National Hockey League during this eight-game winning streak, putting them in the second-overall position in the league standings, only two points behind the Washington Capitals with a 20-3-5 record and two games in hand on the Caps. Boston is 9-0-1 in their last ten games and have still not lost in regulation on home ice.
After being one of the most dominate teams of the 2010s, the Chicago Blackhawks are now one of the bottom teams in the NHL with a sub-.500 record of 10-12-5, good for 27th in the league standings. Chicago has lost each of their last three games and are 4-5-1 in their last ten contests. The Blackhawks most-recently lost 4-0 to the St. Louis Blues on Monday in Chicago.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-2-2 2.04 GAA .933 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 3-1 win vs MTL
CHI: Robin Lehner (Not Confirmed) 5-5-3 2.69 GAA .929 SV% Last Game: 9 Saves in 7-3 loss vs COL

Who’s Hot:

Tuukka Rask is getting the starting job tonight against the Blackhawks and in the process, he will be putting his six-game winning streak and seven-game point streak as starting goaltender on the line. Rask has been one of the top goalies once again this season, sitting near the top of the league in nearly every category. Out of goaltenders with a minimum of 15 games played, Rask is third in save-percentage (.933%) and second in goals-against-average (2.04) with two shutouts (tied for 2nd).

Even though he was kept off of the scoring sheet for the first time in a remarkable 15 games, Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is on fire this season, putting up 14-19-33 numbers in 27 games. Before the loss to the Blues, Kane scored 11 goals and 13 assists over the course of 15-consecutive games. Kane has 8-8-16 totals in 18 career regular-season games against the Bruins.
David Krejci has really come into his own with the absence of Patrice Bergeron in the Bruins lineup as he has been on the scoresheet in each of the last three games, including the insurance goal in the third-period that secured the Bruins a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Krejci has 6-15-21 totals in 22 games in ’19/’20 and will look to keep up that momentum against the Hawks.

Who’s Not:

Once known as one of the league’s best two-way forwards, Jonathon Toews has not had the best campaign so far into December, scoring only four goals and ten assists for 14 points in 27 games. Toews has only two points in his last five games and has been a minus rating in the last three. Toews has been averaging around 17-18 minutes per game on the ice and the Hawks need to see more production from the 31-year-old.
As of 11:00am EST, we do not know the starting goaltender for the Blackhawks, but either option – Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner, are not having good seasons and have struggled to start the campaign. Crawford got the start against the Blues and proceeded to allow four goals on 30 shots against, bringing his season record to 5-7-2 with a GAA of 3.04 and a save-percentage of .909. Lehner’s last game resulted in him getting pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots in 25 minutes against the Avalanche, leading to a 7-3 loss.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Charlie Coyle is one goal away (99) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Jake DeBrusk is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (55) from tying Cam Neely (56) for 5th-most game-winning goals in Bruins history

Chicago Blackhawks:

  • G Corey Crawford is one win away (249) from 250 career NHL wins*
  • D Duncan Keith is one goal away (99) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Zack Smith is two points away (198) from 200 career NHL points
  • D Erik Gustafsson is one point away (99) from 100 career NHL points

*Only applicable if he gets the start in goal.

Bruins vs Blackhawks Outlook:

Two of the most historic franchises in NHL history get ready to lace up the skates against one another for the 591st time in the regular-season. Due to the reality that they are in opposing conferences, the Bruins and Blackhawks only play twice per season. Last year, the Bruins won both meetings including the 4-2 win in the 2019 Winter Classic. Brad Marchand scored two goals and three assists for five points in the two games last season against Chicago.

This year, the Bruins remain one of the best teams but not just in the standings. Boston has the second-best power-play in the NHL with a 30.9% success rate, trailing only the Edmonton Oilers (31%). At home, the Bruins have an even better power-play percentage at 32.7% and have scored 25 goals on the man-advantage – 3rd in the league. On the opposite scale, the Blackhawks have the 19th-best penalty-kill at 79.8% and the tenth-best PK on the road at 82.8%.
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, Chicago has the fifth-worst power-play in the league, scoring only 11 goals on 82 chances for a 13.4% success rate. Boston’s penalty-kill is the seventh-best in the entire NHL, killing off just under 85% of the penalties against. The B’s special teams have been a big reason to their dominate record as we begin the final calendar month of 2019.

Bruins Lineup News:

Defenceman John Moore is going to make his season debut for the Bruins tonight while Connor Clifton gets the scratch. Moore is likely going to play alongside Matt Grzelcyk on the defensive core. Moore underwent shoulder surgery during the off-season and after a brief conditioning stint in the American Hockey League, he plays in his first game tonight. Don’t expect any additional lineup changes, although, things could of course chance by puck drop.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

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