Bruins Game 71 Preview: Winnipeg Jets

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Following an incredible point streak, the Bruins are entering tonight’s game against the Jets with two straight regulation losses – to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets. On Tuesday, March 12th, the Bruins fell to the Blue Jackets by a final score of 7-4. Boston was at one point, down 5-1, but made an effort to come back, making it 5-4 before Columbus added two more to seal the deal. The Bruins are four points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic with 12 games remaining.

The Winnipeg Jets are in a tight battle right now for the top spot in the Central Division. The Jets hold a mere one point advantage on the Nashville Predators with three games in hand, but Winnipeg does have three more regulation-plus-overtime wins already in the bank. Winnipeg is coming into the game losers of their last two and are 4-6-0 in their last ten games.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 24-9-5 2.41 GAA .918 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 7-4 Loss to CBJ

WPG: Connor Hellebuyck 28-20-2 3.01 GAA .909 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 5-4 Loss to SJS

Who’s Hot

Even if the Bruins are losing, Brad Marchand has been consistently dominating in 2018-19 and lately, that has been on display more than ever. Marchand is riding high on an eight-game point streak with three of them being three-point outings. Against Columbus, Marchand scored his 29th and 30th goal of the season, reaching the 30-goal mark for the fourth straight season. Marchand also matched his career-high in points (85) doing so in 69 games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

Blake Wheeler has sixteen points in his last ten games. That usually means that you’re having yourself a solid stretch and an even more solid season – which he has. Wheeler has 19-65-84 numbers in 69 games for the Jets this season, only eight points away from breaking his career-high 91 points that he set in the 2017-18 season. Wheeler not only leads his team in points but is a crucial leader in the locker room for the younger players on the roster.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are almost always together in something, and they are two of the hottest players right now for Boston. Bergeron has nine points in his last eight contests and at one stage, had three shorthanded goals in only five games played. Bergeron has continued to be one of the best, if not the best, two-way forward in the National Hockey League and is always a threat to any opposing line.

Who’s Not

Tuukka Rask had an unbelievable stretch from the end of December to the beginning of March, but the Bruins starting goaltender is entering the game in Winnipeg after being pulled from the crease after allowing five goals on 24 shots against. Of course, when that happens, usually the team around him is not great. Rask could have, however, played better and will be expected to do so tonight.

Mark Scheifele is second on the Jets for most points in the ’18/’19 season, but in the last four games, the 25-year-old has zero points and is a -2 rating during that period. Scheifele has been averaging around the 20-minute mark for each of the four games but has not been able to contribute as much offensively as his 75 points suggest he should. With that said, he can find his groove again at any time, and he remains a big threat to the Bruins defense.

Torey Krug is one of the best offensive defencemen in the entire NHL this season, but in the last two games against the Blue Jackets and Penguins combined, Krug has a -8 rating including a terrible -5 night against the Jackets. Krug also only has two assists in the last five, both coming against the Senators on March 9th. With the injuries to the backend, Boston needs him to be better on the defensive end of the puck.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Patrik Laine is supposed to be one of the top young goal scorers – one that can strike at any moment. While he has shown glimpses of that this year, the Finnish sniper has no goals in the last six games played, even though he has four assists in the same period. Laine has only 29 goals which are still impressive, but will most likely not match his 44 goals from last season and the goals that he has scored, have come in spread out games – proving this long stretch of no goals.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one point away (799) from 800 career NHL points
  • F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history

Winnipeg Jets:

  • F Mark Scheifele is one goal away (145) from passing Vyacheslav Koslov (125) for sole possession of 4th most goals in Jets history
  • F Mark Scheifele is one power-play goal away (36) from passing Andrew Ladd (36) for sole possession of 7th most PPG in Jets history

Bruins vs. Jets Outlook

The Bruins and Jets will meet tonight for the second time this season, and because the two franchises are in opposite conferences, it will also be the final time that these two will play one another in the 2018-19 season. Back on January 29th, the Jets took a 4-3 shootout win over Boston in the TD Garden. Kyle Connor scored two regulation goals and the eventual shootout winner to help lead Winnipeg to the win.

As mentioned earlier, both Boston and Winnipeg are in tight battles for divisional spots as we head closer to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs later in April. This makes this game all-the-more meaningful as a win, or even just a point could be massive on either end of the ice tonight.

Boston has the 3rd-best power-play (26.2%) and the 9th-best penalty-kill (81.3%) while the Jets have the 4th-best power-play (25.3%) and the 24th-best penalty-kill (79.0%). The specialty teams will most likely be a deciding factor in who wins the game tonight. Below are the projected lines for the B’s. Puck drop is scheduled for 8pm EST from the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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Bruins Game 50 Preview: Winnipeg Jets

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Boston Bruins hockey is returning tonight after a nine-day break from games due to the mandatory by-week and the All-Star Weekend. In the final game before the time off, the Bruins lost 3-2 to the New York Rangers, a game that saw goaltender Tuukka Rask leave the game with a concussion, resulting in him being placed on retroactive injured reserve yesterday. Boston is two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for third place in the Atlantic division, but do have two games in hand.

The Winnipeg Jets, on the other hand, have already returned from their break from the NHL schedule, coming away with a 3-1 loss last night against the Philadelphia Flyers where the Jets failed to get any solid scoring chances. Winnipeg is still at the top of the NHL standings and will be looking to advance further along. Right now, they are fourth in the league standings and are tied with the Nashville Predators with sixty-four points for first in the Central Division. A win against the Bruins would give them the sole lead on the position with still two games in hand on Nashville.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak (Likely) 13-9-2 2.47 GAA .919 SV% Last Game: 11 Saves in 3-2 Loss vs NYR

WPG: Connor Hellebuyck 21-14-1 2.85 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 4-2 Loss vs DAL

Who’s Hot

Former Bruin Blake Wheeler has been on fire this season, again, for the Jets and he will look to continue that against his former team. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward has 9-52-61 numbers in only 49 games this year. Wheeler is over an assist-per-game at this point of the season and is second, behind only Nikita Kucherov, for most assists so far this season. Wheeler has four points in his last five games as well.

David Pastrnak also has four points in his last five games, but he also had a good time at the NHL All-Star Weekend, where he won the NHL Accuracy Shooting Competition, hitting all five targets in just over eleven seconds. While the event win has zero impact on actual statistics, it could have very well brought some added momentum and confidence to Pastrnak – especially his shooting.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Terry Lee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If Blake Wheeler is getting all the assists, then who on the Winnipeg Jets roster is getting all the goals? The answer – Mark Scheifele. Scheifele is second on the team for points, with fifty-nine, and he leads the Jets for most goals (25). With that said, he has also found success dishing the puck to other players on the ice, racking up 34 assists in addition to the goals. Mark Scheifele has four points in his last five games, but was held pointless last night and will look to continue his success this season tonight.

Before the break, forward David Krejci was really finding his game on a whole new level, scoring at least a point in five consecutive games including a three-point night against the St. Louis Blues on January 17th. Even though he failed to get on the scoresheet against the Rangers, Krejci still has six points in five games and he could very well extend that coming out of the nine-day break.

Who’s Not

Last season, Patrik Laine scored 44 goals and was looking to be the next great scorer in the National Hockey League. However, this season, Laine has struggled to score at the level we are used to during his short NHL career. Laine has 25 goals this season but has no goals in his last four games and earlier in the season, he went on a six-game goalless drought – twice. Patrik was also on the ice for all of the Jets’ goals against last night, finishing with a -3 rating, adding to his team’s worst -12 rating. Laine is needed by the Jets if they want to be a Stanley Cup contender again this year.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (The Canadian Press)

Jaroslav Halak has lost his last three games, including the game where he replaced the injured Tuukka Rask in the game against the Rangers. In those three losses, Halak has a sub-.900 save percentage and has allowed nine goals in that span. With the absence of Rask for tonight’s pivotal game, Halak needs to be on his game – something he has not been able to do in his recent games.

Mathieu Perreault has struggled to add depth scoring for Winnipeg this season, only scoring 10-9-19 totals in 49 games this year and has no points in his last three games. Perreault’s -3 rating on the season is the fourth-lowest on the Jets roster. Depth scoring is big in the NHL this year and he needs to produce more.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 NHL career goals
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away from taking sole possession of 7th most GWG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away from taking sole possession of 3rd most GWG in Bruins history

Winnipeg Jets:

  • F Mathieu Perreault is two points away from 300 NHL career points
  • F Mark Scheifele is one goal away (138) from tying Andrew Ladd (139) for 5th most career goals in Jets history
  • F Mark Scheifele is one game-winning goal away (20) from taking sole possession of 6th most GWG in Jets history

Bruins vs Jets Outlook

The Winnipeg Jets had a poor outing against the Philadelphia Flyers last night and they will be on the hunt for a much better game. The Jets failed to make good passes and were held to the outside of the zone for much of their offensive opportunities. Connor Hellebuyck will be looking to make the final push to the playoffs on a high note and it will most likely start today.

The Bruins will most likely be slow out of the gate due to the break that they are just coming off of and like most teams, will make mistakes early on. The hope is that the team can prevent any real scoring threats by the Jets and can have some big saves by Halak to keep the game close until the offence can come in and produce.

In past games against Winnipeg, the Bruins have had a tough time on the physical side of things, often times getting out-hit by the Jets team that has become known for their size but skill on the puck. Only two players on the entire Jets roster are under 6-feet tall (Nic Petan and Mathieu Perreault). Six players are above 6-foot-4 in height and they use their body effectively.

Speciality teams will be interesting to follow as well. The Bruins have the second-best power-play in the league (27.2% success) while the Jets have the fourth-best power-play (26.1%). On the penalty-kill, the Jets have the tenth-best PK at 81.5% and the Bruins have the fourteenth-best PK percentage at an 80.7% success rate. The B’s have allowed the second-most short-handed goals (10) and the Jets have scored the ninth-most short-handed goals (6).

Puck drop at the TD Garden is scheduled for 7:00pm EST. Below are the projected lines for the game tonight.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

-> Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com  <-