Despite already clinching a playoff berth with less than 15 games remaining, the Boston Bruins still haven’t thrown in the regular season towel after easily beating the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres last week. Considering Boston had lost three of its previous four games to rather inferior opponents, this small three-game stretch of pure dominance was much-needed. The Bruins still hold the best record in the league, 53-11-5, and are 13 points ahead of the next closest squad with 111 points and a +113 goal differential.
The Bruins started their week on the road against the Jets, walking away with a 3-0 win. Jeremy Swayman stopped all 36 shots and recorded his third shutout of the season in the process. Boston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period while newly-acquired Tyler Bertuzzi and Dmitry Orlov both recorded an assist each.
Just two days later, Boston traveled to Minnesota and came out with a 5-2 win. The Bruins were efficient in all three periods, netting at least one goal in each. Brad Marchand (3A) was the playmaker for the night while both David Pastrnak (1G, 1A) and Patrice Bergeron (1G, 1A) propelled the team in the right direction to secure the dub.
Following back-to-back wins, Boston traveled to Buffalo and dominated from start to finish, securing the 7-0 win over the Sabres. The Bruins wasted no time, scoring just 15 seconds into the game and then six more times after that. The Sabres had no answer, registering just 26 shots on net. Swayman was stellar in net yet again, recording his second-straight and fourth overall shutout of the season. It was pad-the-stat-night with Jake DeBrusk (1G, 3A) leading the way with four points.
Boston still has Ottawa on the radar for tonight, a squad that has lost six of its last eight games but still holds a 2-1 record in the season series. If the Bruins bring the same intensity they brought against the Sabres, another win streak could be brewing as the end of the season nears.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 48 goals (Patrice Bergeron is second with 26 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 91 points (Brad Marchand is second with 61 points)
Top Goaltender: Linus Ullmark — 34-5-1 record, 1.97 goals against on average (GAA), .935 save percentage
(All stats as of Mar. 21)
Bruins upcoming schedule for the week of March 23:
- Thursday, March 23 vs. Montreal Canadiens
- Saturday, March 25 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
- Sunday, March 26 @ Carolina Hurricanes
- Tuesday, March 28 vs. Nashville Predators
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
Injury Update: Taylor Hall (lower body) remains on long-term injured reserve while Nick Foligno (lower body) remains on injured reserve but Boston is hopeful for a return during the playoffs. Derek Forbort (lower body) is considered day-to-day after picking up an injury against Winnipeg on Mar. 16.
Thursday, March 23 vs. Montreal Canadiens
- The Montreal Canadiens have a 27-37-6 record, are in last place in the Atlantic Division and are 15th overall in the Eastern Conference with 60 points and a -64 goal differential.
- These two teams last met on Jan. 24, where the Bruins won 4-2. Boston has won the last eight meetings against Montreal while averaging 3.6 goals per game. The Canadiens are 1-7-2 across their last ten games and post the fifth-worst goal differential in the league.
- Montreal is a very young squad that has dealt with numerous injuries all year long but Nick Suzuki (21G, 32A) has managed to stay healthy resulting in him leading the team in points, assists, power play points and games played. With Christian Dvorak, Kirby Dach and Cole Caufield all injured as well as three other skaters listed as day-to-day, there are simply not many options left in Montreal.
- Due to the injuries and constant lineup shuffling, the Canadiens have struggled defensively, allowing the most high-danger chances (200) and totaling a league-high 684 giveaways this season. They’ve also allowed 34.1 shots against per game, the fourth-highest average in the league, which hasn’t helped Sam Montembeault (13-14-3 record) or Jake Allen (14-23-3 record). Both goaltenders allow at least 3.36 goals per game and the fourth-most goals against overall (260).
Saturday, March 25 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
- The Tampa Bay Lightning have a 42-23-6 record, are in third place in the Atlantic Division and are sixth overall in the Eastern Conference with 90 points and a +30 goal differential.
- These two teams have met three times already this season, with the Bolts notching their first season series win in their most recent meeting on Jan. 26. Over the last ten games, they’ve gone 5-4-1 and have averaged 4.0 goals per game in their five wins.
- In the last meeting, the Bruins were unable to contain Nikita Kucherov (28G, 72A), who assisted on all three of the Bolts’ goals. Brayden Point (43G, 38A) and Steven Stamkos (30G, 41A) have been on the receiving end of passes from Kucherov all season long, resulting in a 51.8% expected goal percentage and fourth-highest goals per game average (3.5). Overall, Tampa Bay is tied for the fourth-most goals scored this season (245).
- Tampa Bay posts the third-best power play percentage (25.3%) in the league but has struggled to play clean hockey, posting the third-most penalty minutes (822). Despite the costly penalties, Andrei Vasilevskiy (31-18-4 record) posts the fourth-most wins and a .914 save percentage. Overall, he’s faced an average of 31.2 shots per game but has only allowed 2.70 goals per game.
Sunday, March 26 @ Carolina Hurricanes
- The Carolina Hurricanes have a 45-15-8 record, are in first place in the Metropolitan Division and are second overall in the Eastern Conference with 98 points and a +52 goal differential.
- These two teams have faced twice with the season series split at 1-1 and the Hurricanes dominating the Bruins, 4-1, on Jan. 29. This is the battle of two of the best teams in the league with both squads ranking first and second in overall points and posting the two lowest regulation loss totals. Boston is 7-3 in its last ten games while Carolina is 6-4.
- Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Andrei Svechnikov (23G, 32A) was placed on long-term injured reserve, leaving them without a key playmaker. Sebastian Aho (30G, 28A) and Martin Necas (27G, 37A) have led the way for Carolina in terms of production and have posted the second-most high-danger shots (178) and a league-leading 60.29% expected goal percentage. Carolina also registers the third-most shots per game average (34.9) so there’s no shortage of scoring opportunities on a nightly basis.
- The Hurricanes tend to play very disciplined and safe hockey, posting the fourth-lowest penalty minute total (530) and the fewest high-danger chances (96) in the league. They’ve rolled with three goaltenders all season but Anti Raanta (16-2-3 record) is day-to-day with a lower body injury, meaning it’ll likely be either Frederik Andersen (18-7-0 record) or Pyotr Kochetkov (11-6-5 record) in net against the Bruins. Kochetkov allows fewer goals per game (2.38) and has recorded four shutouts this season so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in net against Boston who has averaged over 4.0 goals per game across its last seven wins.
Tuesday, March 28 vs. Nashville Predators
- The Nashville Predators have a 34-26-8 record, are in fifth place in the Central Division and are tenth overall in the Western Conference with 76 points and a -11 goal differential.
- These two teams last met on Feb. 16 when the Bruins dominated in a 5-0 win. The Predators are 5-3-2 in their last ten games and are coming off three straight losses, including a 7-0 onslaught against the New York Rangers. Considering Boston has a +17 goal differential in its last ten games and Nashville has a -7 goal differential in the same span, this game may look a lot like the Feb. 16 meeting.
- Nashville has dealt with injuries lately with Filip Forsberg (19G, 23A) currently on injured reserve and Roman Josi (18G, 41A) day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. If Josi is unable to suit up, that puts the Bruins at a major advantage on offense. The Predators already give up the puck in their defensive zone 61.12% of the time, good for the seventh-highest percentage in the league, and without Josi’s presence, it will get much worse against a team like the Bruins.
- The Predators face the sixth-most shots per game (33.3) but Juuse Saros (26-19-7 record) has stood tall in net all season long, allowing 2.75 goals per game and posting a .917 save percentage. Overall, he’s faced the second-most total shots (1,733) but still has the sixth-most wins. Either way, he let in five goals last time on Feb. 16, and the Predators already allow the eighth-most high-danger chances (148) in the league, so the Bruins should have little to no problems in this one.
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