Bruins Game 37 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

Marchand Hurricanes

Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins are set to take on the Carolina Hurricanes, but this is no ordinary matchup. The Canes will be paying homage to their roots and the Bruins’ former neighbor to the south: The Hartford Whalers.

That’s right, at 5:00pm ET you’ll be able to tune in and see those classic Whalers threads in action once again. They’ll be worn by a puzzled Hurricanes team who has gone 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Meanwhile, the Bruins will be looking for their fourth straight win over Carolina.

Who’s Hot?

It was nice to see Patrice Bergeron back in action on Saturday, and that was before his four-point performance. After missing over a month of action, Bergeron returned to the lineup with a fury. The alternate captain inked two goals and two helpers to propel the Bruins over the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-2. While making two of this three shots count, Bergeron won 52-percent of his face-offs – all while seeing just 16:25 of ice time. That number is a big fall from his average of 18:48 throughout the season, but it clearly didn’t seem to phase the centerman.

Bergeron’s downtick in ice time was likely for a variety of reasons (including the fact that he was just returning from an injury). However, a big reason was due to the play of David Krejci. While he failed to extend his eight-game point streak to nine games on Saturday, the Bruin put up five goals and six assists during that stretch before coming up empty against Nashville. Bruce Cassidy has decided to keep David Pastrnak on Krejci’s wing even with the return of Bergeron (who is still sticking with Brad Marchand). It will be interesting to see if the break up breeds success with two lines that have the potential to become lethal.

Krejci Hurricanes

Source: Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America

Andrei Svechnikov has been outstanding for Carolina. While his four-game point streak came to an end on Saturday, the rookie has tallied 10 goals and eight assists in 34 games. The 18-year-old is showing up on his opponents’ radars in the wake of his recent performances. He will certainly be on Boston’s radar when they take Svechnikov and his fellow Hurricanes on Sunday evening.

Who’s Not?

Tuukka Rask, who is expected to start on Sunday, is 2-3-0 in his last five starts. While it’s hard to blame a goaltender for every goal against, Rask has given up 13 in those last five games. The netminder hasn’t been bad, but certainly not good enough to receive consistent starts like Jaroslav Halak has this past week. Cassidy has seemed content going with the hot hand throughout the season without declaring a designated starter.

Though Michael Ferland is one of Carolina’s top producers this season with 11 goals and four assists in 34 games, the forward has entered a slump. Ferland hasn’t come up with a point in his last six games. After contributing to his team’s early successes with seven goals and four assists in his first 12 games of the season, the forward has fallen short alongside the rest of his team.

Bruins vs. Hurricanes Outlook

Coming off a sizeable victory over the Predators, the Bruins will look to bring the accompanying energy to Carolina on Sunday. With all four lines finally showing some life offensively, whether that be via extended zone time or multiple goals, Boston seems on the verge of breaking out of their “one-line team” status.

Acciari Hurricanes

Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America

The Hurricanes are looking to turn things around as they continue to fall down the Metropolitan standings, currently resting in sixth place. They are currently 10 points out of a wild-card spot with three games in hand over the Montreal Canadiens. However, if they don’t put a halt to their skid soon, they may leave themselves too little time to make up for their woes in the second half of the season.

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Bruins Game 34 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

( Photo Credit: Top Bet )

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins will host their greatest rival on Monday night – the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday after working their way to a tie game late in the third period.

Montreal is currently trying to build upon a two-game winning streak with victories against the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators. The Bruins are just one point behind the Canadiens so there could result in a change in the structure of the Eastern Conference standings.

Who’s Hot?

David Krejci extended his point streak to six games in Sunday’s loss to the Sabres. He now has three goals and six assists in that span. He has been playing alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand; keeping that line going in the absence of Patrice Bergeron. There are those who argue this trio shouldn’t be broken up even when Bergeron returns to the lineup. It’s something to consider – even if it is just keeping Pastrnak and Krejci together to have two-well rounded lines. Either way, Krejci has been strong as of late and will look to continue his point streak against the Habs.

Max Domi is the Canadiens’ top point producer. He has scored 14 goals and 19 assists in 33 games this season and is a huge reason why the Habs are currently in fourth place in the Atlantic Division after a subpar 2017-18 season. Domi had 45 points in a full season with the Arizona Coyotes last season – it seems that the change of scenery has helped the forward grow as he is on pace to nearly double that total by the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Bergeron Price

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America

Carey Price has five wins in his last five starts, giving up 12 goals during that span. After sporting a 3-5-2 record and .886 SV% in the month of November, it seems as though the Habs’ netminder is caught the holiday spirit. Since the first of the month, Price is 6-1-0 with a .915 SV%. He will certainly be a tough test for a Bruins offense that has struggled to come up with consistent secondary scoring.

Who’s Not?

Speaking of Boston’s secondary scoring, that’s what hasn’t been hot for Boston. David Backes, Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari – all are forwards who have appeared in at least 27 games and have yet to come up with more than seven points. They have done well in other facets, whether that be through physical play or a solid two-way game. However, the Bruins need their bottom lines to pitch in. They simply haven’t thus far.

Bruin Habs

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being one of Montreal’s top producers, Tomas Tatar has hit a rough patch in the month of December. In his last five games, the forward has a goal and an assist, going pointless in his last three appearances. Overall, Tatar has 12 goals and 12 assists in 33 games this season and has the ability to break out this (potentially) brief slump.

Bruins vs. Canadiens Outlook

The Bruins are certainly in the weeds, working their way to a 3-5-0 record halfway through the month of December. During that span, Boston has given up 28 goals while only scoring 21 themselves. They have simply been subpar throughout the month despite a few glimmers of hope, and have dropped way too many contests to division opponents.

They have another tough division rival in the Canadiens on Monday night. The Habs have a red-hot goaltender and are trying to extend a winning streak and will likely give the Bruins quite the headache. The first line hasn’t been enough to power Boston to victory in recent weeks, and if secondary scoring doesn’t come soon, they will more than likely find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.

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Bruins Game 33 Preview: Buffalo Sabres

McAvoy Eichel

Michael Dwyer / AP

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins will play host to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at 5:00pm ET. The Bruins took the first meeting between the two teams this season by a score of 4-0 in Buffalo.

The Sabres, however, find themselves ahead of Boston in the Atlantic Division standings. They currently have the third-place spot in their grasps while the Bruins are holding on to the second wild-card position. With a 19-9-5 record, the Sabres are by far the biggest surprise of the 2018-19 season thus far.

Who’s Hot?

David Krejci has a five-game point streak going, scoring three goals and five assists during that time – all at even streak. All season Krejci has been solid when it comes to producing scoring chances. More recently, however, he has capitalized on those chances and helped his team execute. It is no coincidence that this uptick in production has occurred while playing on the first line alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Even with that asterisk, Krejci has been a great playmaker throughout the season and is sure to give the Sabres a headache on Sunday.

Zemgus Girgensons, David Krejci

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Tuukka Rask has been the hotter goaltender in recent weeks and will likely get the start against the Sabres on Sunday. The netminder is 4-2-0 in his last six starts, making 166 saves on 148 shots during that span. Rask is 13-6-1 throughout his career against Buffalo with a 2.10 GAA and .932 SV% during those games.

Jack Eichel is simply dominating right now. He has 12 goals and 29 assists in 33 games this season, leading all Sabres in production. Like Krejci, Eichel is on a five-game point streak with seven goals and two assists during that stretch. The Massachusetts native has been average against Boston in the past, notching three goals and four assists in 11 games with a minus-9 rating. However, that was with a below average Buffalo team. With the new and improved Sabres, Eichel will be the most dangerous player in a white jersey on Sunday.

Who’s Not?

Depth, depth, depth. It’s like a broken record at this point, but secondary scoring has been an issue for the Bruins all season long. They finally have a third line in Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Danton Heinen that is clicking. Still, the results on the scoreboard haven’t been consistent from the bottom three lines. It’s a big reason why the Bruins are currently fifth in the Atlantic Division, and something needs to change – especially if they expect to defeat teams like the Sabres as the season moves along.

Acciari Sabres

Associated Press/Jeffrey T. Barne

Carter Hutton has slowed down a bit since going on an eight-game winning streak for Buffalo. He is 1-2-1 in his last four games, giving up 11 goals in that span. Hutton did play Saturday night against the Washington Capitals, so it is questionable as to whether or not they will give him the start against the Bruins on Sunday. Buffalo may feel obligated to go with Linus Ullmark who is 6-1-3 this season.

Bruins vs. Sabres Outlook

The Bruins are coming off a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and will be looking to turn things around. The Krejci, Pastrnak, Marchand combination has been lethal as of late and the B’s will look to them to carry the offense once more – that is unless the team’s secondary scoring issue is solved with no notice.

The Sabres have been on a bit of a skid, going 2-3-3 in their last eight games. They will be looking to change their fate against the Bruins on Sunday. This will be the second leg of back-to-back nights of hockey for Buffalo so we will see if that plays a role in their readiness to take on the B’s at TD Garden.

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Bruins Game 31 Preview: Arizona Coyotes

DeBrusk Yotes

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Arizona Coyotes are in town to take on the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. They are skating into TD Garden having lost their last two games against the Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks. This, however, came after a four-game winning streak.

The Bruins have trended in a polar direction. They dropped three games in a row before winning their last two contests against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. They will be looking to increase their winning streak to three victories while the Coyotes will be looking to end their two-game slide.

Who’s Hot?

Torey Krug has been on fire. He has contributed to five of Boston’s last eight tallies with two goals and three helpers in his last two games. The Bruins’ power play has benefitted from Krug’s return to action after missing a big chunk of the season due to an injury suffered during the preseason. He has two goals and 15 assists in 19 games – 10 of those helpers coming on the man advantage.

David Krejci has two goals and two assists in his last three games. One of those helpers came on Krug’s overtime-winning goal on Sunday. The centerman hasn’t crumbled under the pressure of filling Bergeron’s skates. In the 10 games without Bergeron, Krejci has scored two goals and tallied five helpers.

Arizona Coytes at Boston Bruins

(Inside Hockey/ Brian Fluharty)

Clayton Keller took the league by storm last year, finishing third in the Calder Trophy race. In his last five games, Keller has put up two goals and four assists, adding to his team-leading total of 20 points in 28 games. This puts him on pace for 58 points this season, which would fall short of his 65 points from last season. Nevertheless, Keller is always a threat and the Bruins will have to keep close tabs on him on Tuesday evening.

Who’s Not?

When injuries struck, Steven Kampfer was reliable defensively – at least at first. He logged time on the second defensive pair but has seen most of his time on the bottom unit. Kampfer isn’t expected to contribute much offensively, but just one assist in 18 games is bothersome. Coupling this with the bad penalties he has taken, Kampfer has gone from reliable to inconsistent for Boston thus far. The Bruins will likely need Kampfer in the lineup for an extended period of time as Kevan Miller and Zdeno Chara continue to recover with injuries. He has shown that he has what it takes to help plug the holes – he just needs to find more consistency.

Darcy Kuemper will be getting the start for the Coyotes on Tuesday. He enters play with a 4-5-2 record accompanied by a 2.71 GAA and .914 SV%. Kuemper hasn’t started since Nov. 21st which could either work for or against him. We’ll soon see if the time off has him fresh and ready to go or if he will be rusty having not played in nearly three weeks.

Bruins vs. Coyotes Outlook

Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson will be appearing in his 700th NHL game on Tuesday in Boston. The 31-year-old has 24 goals and 131 assists in the 699 games prior.

Arizona has been a hot-and-cold team all season long. They currently have a record of 13-13-2, following up a number of winning streaks with three-to-four game slides. The Bruins will be hoping to tack on to Arizona’s current two-game losing streak. The Bruins have also been hot and cold, though not quite as much as the Coyotes.

Tuukka Rask will be starting for Boston. Meanwhile, Jake DeBrusk has been ruled out with an upper-body injury.  The Bruins are coming off two big wins against division foes and will look to carry the confidence those two games bred into their date with Arizona.

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Bruins Game 29 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs

Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

There’s no question that the Boston Bruins are struggling. They are currently on a three-game skid, losing to three different Atlantic Division foes in the past week. On Saturday night they will host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs are having a tremendous year and are in second place across the entire league. They are 5-0-1 in their last six contests, propelling themselves to a record of 20-8-1 overall. It will be a big challenge for Boston – a challenge they might not exactly be up for.

Who’s Hot?

David Pastrnak is just about the only Bruin who hasn’t succumb to sub-par play since Patrice Bergeron fell out of the lineup due to an injury. The team’s top center has missed nine games to date, a period in which Boston has gone 4-4-1. However, during that time Pastrnak has been able to continue producing, coming up with three goals and four assists despite Bergeron’s absence. The Bruins really need someone else to step up, however. Bergeron could be out through the holidays – if not longer – and Pastrnak can’t net Boston wins on his own.

Pastrnak Leafs

Credit: Getty Images/Maddie Meyer

Auston Matthews is one of the biggest names in the NHL today and for good reason. Toronto had lost one of their star centers for a number of games this season. The Maple Leafs went 9-5-0 during his absence. Though that is still a great record, they have been even better with him, going 11-3-1. In the four games Matthews has appeared in since his return, the center has put together a four-game point streak featuring five goals and three assists.

The Leafs’ starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen, is on a four-game winning streak. He made 38 saves in each of those four victories. He gave up 11 goals in the process, but Toronto’s offense did enough to put his team over the top. Andersen will be getting the start on Saturday, and it would be surprising if he didn’t have a good outing against the Bruins who have evidently struggled to get pucks to the back of the net.

Who’s Not?

Just about everyone besides Pastrnak hasn’t been up to snuff for Boston. Whether it’s a lack of execution or physicality, poor defense or just being a step behind the opponent, the Bruins are not meeting expectations by any means. Secondary scoring has been a problem all season and it has become more prevalent without Bergeron anchoring the top line.

Even Brad Marchand hasn’t been himself without his highly-skilled centerman. Many are calling for some trades – especially if Bergeron is to be out for an even longer period time than originally expected. That may be a route Boston needs to go if the team they are icing right now can’t come together and snag some victories.

Marchand Maple Leafs

Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP

William Nylander made waves this season as he and his team were at odds over contract negotiations. With just minutes to spare before the Dec. 1 deadline, the restricted free agent signed with the Leafs and has returned to action. Nylander hasn’t been struggling – he has only played one game this season – but it is worth noting that the young winger likely isn’t in his best form after missing two full months of the season. It will likely take Nylander a little while to get going, but a contest against a struggling Boston team could be just what he needs to jump-start his season.

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Outlook

It’s like beating a dead horse at this point, but the Bruins have quite simply been bad this past week. Yes, injuries play a role in that. However, on paper, they have the skill to overcome the losses of Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Kevan Miller – at least in the short-term. They will be missing Jake DeBrusk as well, which is certainly not a good sign for the Bruins.

The Maple Leafs are red hot entering Saturday’s matchup. It could be a slaughter if the Bruins don’t find their A-game by the drop of the puck. Jaroslav Halak will be getting the start, and he will likely be tested early and often.

In their playoff series in April, the Matthews line was halted by both Bergeron’s unit and Chara’s defensive pair. With the Bruins missing both of those players, along with the Maple Leafs’ addition of John Tavares over the offseason, this is going to be a big challenge.

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Bruins Game 27 Preview: Florida Panthers

Michael Sgarbossa, David Backes

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins will be spending some time in the sunshine state this week as they take on the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. They will follow up this matchup with a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

The Bruins are coming off a tough loss to the Detroit Red Wings. After things got heated late in the second period, Detroit was able to steal the momentum and bury Boston’s hopes of a victory in the third period. The Panthers are coming off a loss themselves. They fell to the Lightning 5-4 in overtime on Saturday, bringing their record to 10-10-5.

Who’s Hot?

It seems that Ryan Donato learned a thing or two during his stint with the Providence Bruins this season. Since his return to the NHL, the young forward potted the shootout winner against the New York Islanders and a goal against Detroit this past weekend. It gives Boston hope that Anders Bjork could have a similar fate after being sent down to the AHL himself. The hope is that Donato now has the confidence necessary to continue executing while playing a two-way game – something that was a focus for him during his time in Providence.

It’s been a while since Jaroslav Halak has seen action – over a week, in fact. However, the netminder will be getting the start tonight against the Panthers. In his last six appearances, Halak went 4-2-0 with a .936 SV%. The only noticeable hiccup came against the Colorado Avalanche when he gave up six goals on 25 shots. Florida is the perfect opponent for Halak to go up against as he kicks back into gear – it’ll still be a challenge, but the Bruins are expected to come out on top. Halak should also get a big offensive boost from his teammates.

Alexander Barkov has been stellar for the Panthers this season, especially recently. He currently has a four-game point streak going with three goals and two assists. In total, Barkov has notched 23 points in 25 games and leads all Florida skaters in ice time, averaging just shy of 23 minutes per game.

Keith Yandle has been having yet another solid season along the blue line. The defenseman hasn’t missed a single matchup since the 2008-09 season having appeared in 731 straight games. In his 25 skates this season, Yandle has come up with four goals and 19 assists – 13 of those helpers coming on the power play. He leads all Panthers defensemen in scoring and ice time and will be one of Boston’s toughest customers on Tuesday night.

Who’s Not?

Boston’s depth has remained almost silent. While they have applied pressure, they have lacked the ability to execute. In fact, Charlie McAvoy – who has only appeared in seven games this season – is currently ranked eighth on the team in production with a goal and five assists. If that doesn’t indicate a lack in production from the bottom two lines, I don’t know what does.

Roberto Luongo will be a game-time decision on Tuesday. He’s had a rough go of it this season, having missed time with multiple injuries and going 4-3-0 with a .902 SV% and 3.07 GAA. The Panthers returned goaltender Michael Hutchinson to the AHL this afternoon, which could signify that Luongo will at least be wearing a baseball cap when his team takes on the Bruins.

Pastrnak Luongo

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

If Luongo misses yet another start, James Reimer will take to the crease. Reimer has also struggled this season, posting a 5-6-3 record in 13 starts. Accompanied by a .893 SV% and 3.36 GAA, the Panthers are having a rough go of it in the goaltender department.

Bruins vs. Panthers Outlook

Given Florida’s struggles in the crease, the Bruins may see a wide variety of goal scorers on Tuesday night. In order to do so, they will need to bring their legs along with them. Outskating the Panthers will be the biggest key to Boston’s game. It’s something they failed to do in the latter stages of their loss to the Red Wings and a characteristic they haven’t brought to their game consistently throughout the first two months of the season.

Florida will be placing their hopes in the hands of their young forwards and star defensemen. The Panthers have a fairly well-rounded attack coming from both up front and the blue line so the Bruins may be put on their heels when up against Florida’s top five skaters.

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Bruins Game 26 Preview: Detroit Red Wings

Brad Marchand, Jimmy Howard

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins will host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at TD Garden. It will be the third time the two teams meet this season with the Bruins nabbing three points and Red Wings snagging two points in the two prior matchups.

Detroit, sporting an 11-11-3 record, are fighting to stay out of the last place in the Atlantic Division. On the other hand, Boston is inching closer to the top of the division’s standings with a 14-7-4 record. Still, it should be a heated game for some important points – Detroit is just three points out of wild-card spot, after all.

Who’s Hot?

Tuukka Rask has been stellar after taking his leave of absence. Since returning to action, Rask has gone 2-0-2 with just seven goals against and a very impressive .944 SV%. The netminder will get the start once again when Boston faces Detroit on Saturday. We’ll soon see if his mind has remained clear and he is still capable of snagging a win for the Bruins.

John Moore has also been impressive as of late. With numerous injuries to Boston’s back end, Moore has taken to the spotlight. The blueliner averaged 22:40 in ice time per game during the month of November and should continue to see similar totals in early December. Brandon Carlo will be returning on Saturday and is expected to be playing alongside Torey Krug which would mean Matt Grzelcyk is partnered with Moore. It hasn’t seemed to matter who Moore plays alongside, however. He has been solid defensively and has even made an effort to contribute to Boston’s offensive flow.

Dylan Larkin continues to be Detroit’s biggest threat up front. The young forward has nine goals and 12 assists in 25 games. Across the two games the Red Wings have played against Boston this season, Larkin notched a goal and averaged 18:34 in ice time. In his last five games, the 22-year-old has been held to a goal and an assist, however, but is always a threat to break out at any time.

Tyler Bertuzzi is coming off a strong showing. The winger potted two goals on Wednesday in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Despite seeing significantly less ice time than some of his peers, Bertuzzi has still been able to consistently produce. In fact, he is ranked fourth in point production on the Red Wings entering Saturday’s game.

Who’s Not?

Danton Heinen hasn’t been too bad. He has certainly improved his two-way game and has seen his fair share of chances. However, Heinen has lacked execution. The winger hasn’t produced a point in eight games and has only registered 11 shots during that span. Execution is something Boston needs from their depth right now, and simply pitching in with an assist could get Heinen going once again.

Heinen Zetterberg

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

After impressing during his rookie season with 25 points in 68 games, Martin Frk has been suffering from the notorious sophomore slump. The 24-year-old has just one goal and one assist in 13 games thus far, averaging less than nine minutes per contest. Frk’s plus/minus rating has been in the red in five of his last six games while averaging just 8:46 of ice time. He needs to step up his game soon if he is to overcome this slump.

Bruins vs. Red Wings Outlook

The Bruins finally have Carlo back but are still missing some key pieces. However, that hasn’t been too much of a problem for the boys in black and gold. It really makes you wonder how the team could be performing if they were 100-percent healthy.

Detroit has a tough test ahead of them on Saturday, but they have already proven that they are capable of beating the Bruins – they did beat Boston 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 21st after all. In that game, the Red Wings’ young forwards led them past a batter Bruins defense. They could very well do the same on Saturday, though a red-hot Rask may have something to say about that.

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Bruins Game 25 Preview: New York Islanders


Krejci Islanders

Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins will host the New York Islanders on Thursday. It is the first meeting the two teams will have this season.

It seems the story is always the same for the Bruins – their defense. Currently, Boston has Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, and Kevan Miller sidelined with injuries. Brandon Carlo skated this week but will not play Thursday but is considered likely for Saturday’s game. Combining all of this with Patrice Bergeron – the best two-way forward on the team (and arguably throughout the NHL) – missing time, you’d think the Bruins would be in over their heads.

The truth is, however, they haven’t been. Boston is ranked first in goals against with just 59 in 24 games to-date. This is despite having played a number of games less-than-or-equal-to 14 teams in the NHL this season. But there is a bigger story to be told on Thursday evening, and that story will soon be cemented in the rafters of the TD Garden.

Middleton’s Number Retirement Ceremony

Make sure you’re either at the Garden or on your couch by 6:30pm on Thursday as the Bruins will be celebrating the career of Rick Middleton by retiring his number before puck drop. Number 16 will be joining Bruins legends such as Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, and Milt Schmidt in the rafters.


It is a rare occasion that an organization puts a player’s number on the shelf for good, so you certainly don’t want to miss this.

Who’s Hot?

David Pastrnak currently shares a three-way tie for first place in goals scored with Patrick Laine and Jeff Skinner. Boston’s first-line right winger has potted 19 goals in 24 games. Two of these goals came in the Bruins’ most recent game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 22-year-old is making opposing general managers wonder why they didn’t pick him earlier in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Pastrnak was the 25th selection, after all, but is playing more like a top-10 pick.

In his last nine games, Mathew Barzal has two goals and six assists. He is currently second on the Islanders in production with 20 points in 23 games. The 21-year-old has been charged with the difficult task of filling the skates of John Tavares who of course left the team in pursuit of free agency and was subsequently picked up by the Maple Leafs. Barzal has shown his age, however, in being a minus-11 despite not seeing time on the penalty kill.

Barzal Bruins

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Josh Bailey has been aiding Barzal in filling the void Tavares left when he packed his bags for Toronto. The winger has seven goals and 14 assists in 23 appearances. However, Bailey has gotten just seven shots on goal in his last five games, scoring just a goal and an assist.

Who’s Not?

Anders Bjork has continued to struggle – so much so that he has been taken out of the lineup. It seems that the youngster’s biggest issue has been finding his role. He has been skating on Boston’s third line but has struggled in fulfilling the duties expected of such a position – namely defense and secondary scoring. In one instance in the game against Toronto, Bjork took a bad tripping penalty and the Leafs went on to score on the ensuing power play. Bjork has since been sent down to the AHL to play with the Providence Bruins. Many wonder how soon he will return to the NHL after as Ryan Donato, who spent time in Providence this season, has since been called back up to Boston.

New York’s power play has been something the Islanders would like to forget. The team has gone 0-for-11 with the man advantage in their last five games. It has been an emphasis for the team leading up to their game against Boston – it will be interesting to see what they can come up with. Due to the injuries on the back end as well as to Bergeron, the Bruins’ penalty kill isn’t at it’s best. This is a prime time for the Islanders to put an end to their power play blues.

Bruins vs. Islanders Outlook

The Bruins are 3-1-1 in their last five games and will be looking to continue their climb up the Atlantic Division Standings with a win against the Islanders. There is currently a gap of five points between Boston and the top-three teams within their division, but with games in hand, that difference feels more narrow.

As stated before, the power play will be key for New York. During the time their special teams unit has been shut out, the Islanders have gone 2-3-0. Tuukka Rask will be getting the start, so it will be up to him and Boston’s weathered penalty kill to ensure that New York doesn’t solve their power play woes just yet.

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Bruins Game 23 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

Chara Canadiens

(Credit: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins travel north of the border on Saturday to rekindle one of the best rivalries in hockey with the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins snagged six of the eight available points in their last four games, most recently topping the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime on Friday.

On the other hand, the Canadiens march into the fray with an 11-7-5 record, trailing the B’s by just one point. With both teams currently in wild-card positions, this game could go a long way in determining the Eastern Conference’s playoff tree by the season’s end.

Who’s Hot?

Joakim Nordstrom notched the game-winning goal on Friday against the Penguins. It was the first overtime goal of his career, coming off a deflection on Torey Krug’s shot from the point. The tally was Nordstrom’s fourth of the season. It seems that his moving up and down the lineup has not hampered his game thus far. Even when he’s not producing, Nordstrom has been impressive and has proven to be a great free-agent acquisition.

David Krejci has been asked to fill the skates of Patrice Bergeron on the first line. While that’s a tall order, Krejci has done his best and has made the most of the extra ice time. The centerman registered a helper in Friday’s game but was also partially responsible for Nordstrom’s goal. The 32-year-old made a stellar play along the boards to keep the puck in the zone at the end of a long 3-on-3 shift. That possession eventually resulted in Nordstrom’s heroic deflection.

Max Domi has proven to be a great addition for the Habs. The 23-year-old leads the team in scoring with 11 goals and 15 assists through 23 games. He recently had an 11-game point streak going that came to an end on Friday in Buffalo. Domi will certainly be looking to pick apart are damaged Bruins defense and a hot-and-cold Tuukka Rask.

Jonathan Drouin, one of Domi’s linemates, has registered eight goals and 11 assists so far this season. Seven of his 19 points have come on the man advantage which has been keeping Montreal’s power play out of the dog house. The Habs have a 14.6% execution rate when up a man, while the league’s average is 20.7%.

Who’s Not?

Noel Acciari has remained almost silent for the Bruins. He has just one point in 19 games and is a minus-6. The depth forward has bounced around Boston’s bottom-six this season, averaging 11:36 in ice time per game.

Acciari Canadiens

(Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)

Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen have continued to struggle with the hockey blues. Neither forward has registered a point since November 11th. Though they have had some good shifts, execution is the trait they have lacked which is something they need to turn around. Bjork was scratched for Friday’s game which could be a sign of things to come if he can’t find the scoresheet.

Matthew Peca has struggled on Montreal’s third line. He has come up with just six points in 21 games while earning a plus-minus rating of minus-5. He’s been averaging less than 16 shifts per game and needs to up his game to give the Habs some much-needed secondary scoring.

Bruins vs. Canadiens Outlook

The Bruins have a tough test in front of them in the form of Montreal. The Canadiens weren’t originally expected to be a competitive team this season. However, they have proven the naysayers wrong and will be in contention for a playoff spot if they continue to compete at the level they have been.

The Bruins will likely need Rask to stand on his head much like Jaroslav Halak was forced to on Friday. While they aren’t facing the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Habs have some lethal scorers who will make a mess of Boston if they are not careful. Meanwhile, the Canadiens will look to take advantage of Boston’s banged-up defense and a number of rookies taking the ice for the Bruins on Saturday.

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Bruins Game 21 Preview: Detroit Red Wings

Pastrnak Red Wings

(Maddie Meyer, Getty Images)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

It’s almost time for turkey, but before we can celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, we have a Boston Bruins game to watch. The B’s will be in Detroit on Wednesday night to take on the Red Wings.

The Bruins enter play with an 11-6-3 record and a plethora of injuries. They recently lost Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron for long stretches of time which will greatly impact how Bruce Cassidy delegates ice time. However, Kevan Miller is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday which is definitely a shining light amidst a lot of bad news. Meanwhile, the Red Wings are 9-9-2 and are relatively healthy compared to Boston.

Who’s Hot?

Jake DeBrusk scored a goal against the Arizona Coyotes over the weekend, his eighth of the season. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson also notched a goal – the first of his NHL career. The rookie’s tally was assisted by Noel Acciari, making the winger the last Bruin to register a point this season.

DeBrusk Red Wings

Credit: Associated Press

Matt Grzelcyk has done a solid job in the absence of many of Boston’s defensemen, namely Charlie McAvoy. With McAvoy’s offensive production on hold, Grzelcyk has been able to carry some of the weight. Combined with Torey Krug’s offensive tendencies from the blue line, it seems that Boston’s transition game is in good hands for the time being.

Dylan Larkin leads the Red Wings in scoring and has four points in his last five games. The 22-year-old is already taking on first-line duties and is set to be Detroit’s next great centerman if his upward trend continues. With 24-year-old Mantha on his right wing, who has six goals and three assists in 20 games, Detroit’s top lines can be lethal. They could very well take advantage of a shattered Bruins defense if they bring their A-game.

Gustav Nyquist and Andreas Athanasiou have also come up with some production on the Red Wings’ second line. The two have combined for nine goals and 18 assists (27 points). Centered by Frans Nielsen, who has no goals but 10 assists, Detroit’s top-six have some offensive capabilities.

Who’s Not?

Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen continue to struggle one-fourth of the way through the season. Heinen has only tallied five points while Bjork has just three to his name. Bjork will be getting time on the first line alongside David Krejci and David Pastrnak, however. Perhaps the extra minutes and skilled linemates can give him an offensive boost and the ability to execute.


Steven Kampfer has been decent for the Bruins thus far but needs to work on his discipline. The defenseman is only behind Brad Marchand (66) and Torey Krug (19) in penalty minutes, committing nine minors for almost a full period’s worth of time in the box. What he has done well is mentoring young defensemen, specifically Jeremy Lauzon whom he has been playing alongside.

Detroit’s goaltending is certainly a sore spot for the boys in red. Jimmy Howard currently sports a record of 6-6-2 with a .922 SV% and 2.64 GAA. Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernier has a 3-3-0 record accompanied by a .901 SV% and 3.59 GAA. It is projected that the Bruins will be facing Howard tonight as they’ll look to add on to his losing record.

Bruins vs. Red Wings Outlook

The Bruins are certainly dealing with an injury bug. Luckily, the young defensemen that have been called up to fill the void have been up to the challenge. Connor Clifton had a strong presence in his first NHL game against Arizona, receiving his first NHL major penalty for fighting. Lauzon has also done well holding down the fort on the third defensive pair and has failed to become a liability.

The Red Wings will try to put those young defensemen in their place. They may not need too much from their offense tonight in order to net themselves a win. Boston is currently ranked 3rd in goals against with 49 but just 22nd in goals for with 58. However, the Bruins’ offense can be deadly, especially with DeBrusk finding his game to compliment that of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

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