By: Zach Carlone | Follow me on Twitter @zcarlone21
Nobody expected the Bruins to do what they have done the past three games. Their extremely impressive comeback tactics struck rich yet again on Wednesday night, a game where the team was down 3-1 to the Flyers in the 3rd yet came back to win it early in overtime 4-3. David Pastrnak was the unsung hero of that game, collecting a hat-trick and assisting on Patrice Bergeron’s overtime winner. The team will continue the four-game road trip in this shortened season in their second consecutive game against the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ tonight. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm EST.
The Bruins first line of Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak was nothing short of excellent in Wednesday’s night win. Consistently playing well, the line collected all four of the Bruins goals. Pastrnak finished the game with his ninth career hat-trick, along with an assist, and Bergeron finished with the overtime winner and three assists on all three of Pastrnak’s goals. While the other three forward lines didn’t hit the scoresheet, they did play well enough to help carry momentum resulting in a Bruins win.
In the bottom-nine group of Bruins forwards, the second line of Ritchie – Krejci – Smith did a great job of helping generate chances. They didn’t cash in, and the game obviously needed to go longer than the 60-minute regulation. For the Bruins to continue their winning ways, they will need more production from the middle-six forwards, specifically the third line. Nick Ritchie has been a great surprise on the first power-play unit and has already collected nine points in ten games thus far.
Krejci and Smith have continued driving play, but for the rest of the Bruins forwards outside of the ‘Perfection Line,’ they’re going to need to generate more chances. The Flyers have a lot of depth and can get goals and production out of any line. Without key forward Sean Couturier due to injury, they’re still dangerous, and they’ve proven that with their strong play in the MassMutual East Division. The majority of the Bruins forwards need to outplay the Flyers’ depth in order to secure the two points.
Rask vs. Elliott
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected to make his second straight start tonight, and the Flyers will go with veteran goaltender Brian Elliott in net with Carter Hart as the backup.
Rask had a fairly well-rounded contest on Wednesday night, making 22 stops on 25 shots en route to his fourth win of the season, another game against the Flyers that required overtime. He currently has a 4-1-1 record with a 2.57 GAA and a .888 save percentage. Those aren’t particularly strong numbers for a former Vezina Trophy winner, but he’s playing well enough for the Bruins to shape up an excellent record thus far in a rather mightily-skilled MassMutual East Division.
Brian Elliott actually has stronger numbers this season than young goaltender Hart, sporting a 3-0-0 record with a 2.22 GAA and a .932 save percentage. He also has a shutout this season. Even though that’s a small sample size, he didn’t start Wednesday night and had plenty of rest. The Bruins are going to need to raise havoc in front of the crease to get Elliott moving in order to produce on the scoreboard.
It’s no secret that both of these teams have grown a passion of hate for each other over the past few decades. The Bruins and Flyers are physical, hard-nosed groups that are going to battle for every loose puck. We saw a ton of physical play in Wednesday night’s game between the two and we should again tonight.
Wednesday night’s tilt also began with many costly turnovers from the Flyers’ young defense, and the Bruins were able to build momentum from those mistakes. If the Bruins put bodies on their defensemen and finish their checks, they are going to be more likely to force the puck into a bad area, and the Bruins will be able to carry the play. However, the Flyers outhit the Bruins in their previous meeting 26-25. Expect a lot of the same physical play and wear-and-tear in tonight’s game.
Bruins Projected Lineup
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Ritchie – Krejci – Smith
Frederic – Coyle – Wagner
Blidh – Kuraly – Bjork
Lauzon – McAvoy
Clifton – Carlo
Zboril – Miller
Per Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk have begun skating on their own in Boston, a promising step in the right direction towards their anticipated returns to the lineup. The same expected lineup from Wednesday night’s game for tonight.