The Boston Bruins headed into Christmas with a 27-4-2 record on the season. Despite having just four regulation losses, Boston still sat just eight points in front of Toronto for first place in the Atlantic Division, as of Dec. 23. Boston still has sole possession of the best record in the entire league but is only six points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes now in that regard.
The Bruins played two games directly before the short Christmas break against the Winnipeg Jets (Dec. 22) and New Jersey Devils (Dec. 23) and came away victorious in both of them.
It was noted last week that the Jets game had all the makings of a tough, low-scoring affair and that’s exactly how the game played out. Winnipeg jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period but eventually got worn down by Boston who scored three unanswered to grab a 3-2 win. The Jets got great goaltending from Connor Hellebuyck, who stopped 36 of 39 shots on net but their injury issues up front made it tough to keep Boston pinned down for three periods. Jeremy Swayman got the start and came up big by stopping 25 of 27 shots faced in the win.
The next night, Boston flew into New Jersey to take on the Devils. The Devils carried the play in a lot of respects, firing 40 shots on net for the entire game, and outshooting Boston 40-23. Luckily for the Bruins, goaltender Linus Ullmark was well-rested after taking the last game off and stopped 37 of the 40 shots he faced. Boston also got two goals from David Pastrnak — who also scored once against the Jets — to up his tally to 24 on the season.
The Bruins were off from the 24th to 26th but jumped back into action on Dec. 27 against the Ottawa Senators and then played the Devils again Wednesday, Dec. 28. It’s a busy time for the Bruins but they will have a full two days off to prepare for the upcoming week.
Top Goal Scorer (Season): David Pastrnak, 24 goals (Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall are second with 13 goals)
Top Point Getter (Season): David Pastrnak, 47 pts (Taylor Hall and Patrice Bergeron are tied for second with 27 pts)
Top Goalie (Season): Linus Ullmark - 19-1-1 (2 SO), 1.94 GAA and .936 save%
(All stats as of December 23, 2022)
Bruins upcoming schedule for the week of December 29:
- Saturday, December 31 vs. Buffalo Sabres
- Monday, January 2 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
Injury update: none
Saturday, December 31 vs. Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres are 16-14-2 on the season and carry a +18 goal differential into this week.
- The Sabres have been a fun team to watch this season. They are tied with Boston for the best offense in the NHL as both clubs average 3.9 goals per game.
- Buffalo also has a +18 goal differential which is tied with Tampa Bay, who sit six points in front of them on the season.
- Buffalo has endured some poor goaltending at times this season but lately, it’s been a point of strength for the team. They are on a four-game winning streak and have not allowed more than two goals against them during that span.
- These two teams played in early November with Boston taking away a 3-1 win. Boston has dominated Buffalo over the last five seasons and comes into this game having won 17 of the last 18 games played against them.
- Expect this game to potentially be high-scoring. Buffalo has an emerging superstar up front with Tage Thompson who has 26 goals through 32 games thus far. The Sabres have grabbed wins over Colorado and Las Vegas recently and should push Boston in this game.
- It’s a great spot to deploy the Bruins studs as the Sabres still allow the eighth-most shots against per game— and are 10th worst in goals against per game.
Monday, January 2 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are 19-9-5 on the season and carry a +19 goal differential into this week.
- Pittsburgh has been one of the hottest teams in the league over the last month. They’ve now gone 8-1-1 over their last 10 games with the only losses coming to the Carolina Hurricanes.
- Starting goalie Tristan Jarry has improved vastly after a slow start and now owns a 15-3-4 record and a .920 save percentage.
- The Penguins have the league’s best penalty-kill and are also sixth in xGF% (expected goal for percentage). They’re strong at regular strength and will be a tough matchup for the Bruins forwards.
- This will be the second meeting of the season between these two teams, with the first being a thrilling 6-5 OT win by Boston, in Pittsburgh. The Penguins have been much tougher to score on since that game, however, and we’ll likely have two elite goaltenders starting in Jarry and Ullmark.
- Expect a slightly muted day for some of the Bruins’ top forwards with the Penguins’ elite special teams putting a cap on any big fantasy outings. The goaltenders on both sides will be solid starts as a lower-scoring game should be expected.
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