The Boston Bruins have started their 2023-24 season on the right foot, topping both the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators in their opening two-game homestand. Having only played two games when most of their Atlantic Division opponents have played three, the Bruins sit atop the division as the only team with zero regulation losses and are tied with three other teams (Detroit, Ottawa, Toronto) with four points.
Boston started its season with a 3-1 win over Chicago and first-round pick Connor Bedard in its home opener. The Bruins fell to a 1-0 deficit in the first period but scored three unanswered goals led by David Pastrnak (2G) to secure their first win of the season. Linus Ullmark (.952 save percentage) got the start and faced just 21 shots.
Three days later, the Predators came into town and put up quite the fight, keeping the game tied 2-2 heading into the third period. James van Riemsdyk (2G) got the scoring started for Boston after netting a power play goal in the first period but didn’t stop there — netting the game-winning power play goal in the third period off of a tipped shot by Charlie McAvoy (2A). Jeremy Swayman (.943 save percentage) got the start this time around, stopping 33-of-35 shots and doing enough to secure the 3-2 win.
After playing back-to-back home games to open the season, Boston finds itself on the road for all four of its games next week — facing the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 3 goals (James van Riemsdyk is second with 2 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 4 points (James van Riemsdyk, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy are tied for second with 2 points)
Top Goaltender: Linus Ullmark — 1-0-0 record, 1.00 goals against on average (GAA), .952 save percentage
Bruins upcoming schedule:
- Thursday, October 19 at San Jose Sharks
- Saturday, October 21 at Los Angeles Kings
- Sunday, October 22 at Anaheim Ducks
- Tuesday, October 24 at Chicago Blackhawks
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
Injury Update: none
Thursday, October 19 at San Jose Sharks
- The San Jose Sharks finished the 2022-23 season with a 22-44-16 record, in 7th place in the Pacific Division and 14th overall in the Western Conference with 60 points and a -87 goal differential. Through two games, they have a 0-1-1 record, one point and a -4 goal differential.
- The Sharks ranked 25th in both goals per game (2.84) and total goals for (233), allowed the 3rd-most goals per game (3.84) and deployed the 26th-ranked power play unit (18.4%) and 8th-ranked penalty kill unit (82.4%) in 2022.
- Once San Jose moved on from both Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier, it was pretty clear that the team was entering a total rebuild era. Losing two of your top point-getters will leave a large hole in overall production but both Logan Couture (67 points in 82 games in 2022) and Tomas Hertl (63 points in 79 games in 2022) will help that cause, although Couture’s return from injury is still ways away. The Sharks have scored just two goals and only six skaters have recorded a point through their first two games.
- If there’s a positive for Sharks fans to hold onto this season, it’s Mackenzie Blackwood (0.92 GAA), who was acquired via trade and stopped a whopping 51-of-52 shots against the high-powered Colorado Avalanche offensive attack for a .981 save percentage. The Sharks still lost the game in a shootout, suggesting Blackwood will likely be depended on to play out of his mind regularly because this Sharks’ attack is going to struggle to put pucks in the back of the net. It’s a small sample size but San Jose registers just 22.0 shots on goal and has allowed 42.0 shots against per game, which is a whole five shots higher than the next closest team’s average.
Saturday, October 21 at Los Angeles Kings
- The Los Angeles Kings finished the 2022-23 season with a 47-25-10 record, in 3rd place in the Pacific Division and 5th overall in the Western Conference with 104 points and a +23 goal differential. Through two games, they have a 0-1-1 record, one point and a -4 goal differential.
- The Kings ranked 10th in goals per game (3.34) and total goals for (274), allowed the 16th-fewest goals per game (3.10) and deployed the 4th-ranked power play unit (25.3%) and 24th-ranked penalty kill unit (75.9%) in 2022.
- Los Angeles acquired players like Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Talbot in the offseason in hopes of making a run in the Pacific Division but lost some promising talent in Alex Iafallo (36 points in 59 games in 2022) and Gabriel Vilardi (41 points in 63 games in 2022). Through the first two games, Anze Kopitar (2G and 1A) unsurprisingly leads the pack in goals but Kevin Fiala (3A) has provided top-notch support on the top line, assisting on both of Kopitar’s goals.
- While the Kings’ top lines deploy some talented skaters who have totaled seven goals in two games, the goaltending has let up 11 goals in that span. The acquisition of Talbot, who stopped 32-of-36 shots in the home opener, should bring some consistency between the pipes but Pheonix Copley (4.66 GAA) had a rough start to the season, facing just 19 shots but letting in five goals, leading to a 6-5 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Sunday, October 22 at Anaheim Ducks
- The Anaheim Ducks finished the 2022-23 season with a 23-47-12 record, in last place in the Pacific Division and last overall in the Western Conference with 58 points and a -129 goal differential. Through two games, they have a 1-1-0 record, two points and a zero goal differential.
- The Ducks ranked 31st in goals per game (2.51) and total goals for (206), allowed the most goals per game (4.09) and deployed the 31st-ranked power play unit (15.7%) and 31st-ranked penalty kill unit (72.1%) in 2022.
- Despite finishing last in nearly every statistical category in 2022, this season’s Ducks’ roster doesn’t look all that different. Anaheim brought in Alex Killorn (64 points in 82 games in 2022) but he is currently sidelined with a finger injury, leaving a rather large hole in the top-six already. The first line comprised of Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry (1A) and Adam Henrique (1A) figures to produce the most points again this season but Frank Vatrano (3G) has sparked the offensive attack thus far, picking up a hat-trick in the Ducks 6-3 win over the Hurricanes.
- Jamie Drysdale (2A) is poised for a breakout season after posting 32 points in 2021 as a rookie and missing nearly all of 2022 with a shoulder injury. He should provide a nice offensive boost from the defenseman position and in turn help his goaltenders post much better goals against averages this time around. John Gibson (3.01 GAA) maintained his starting role despite allowing 3.99 goals per game in 2022, good for the second-highest average. Although the Ducks lost 4-1, Gibson stood tall in net against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights, stopping 34-of-37 shots.
Tuesday, October 24 at Chicago Blackhawks
- The Chicago Blackhawks finished the 2022-23 season with a 26-49-7 record, in last place in the Central Division and 15th overall in the Western Conference with 59 points and a -97 goal differential. Through four games, they have a 2-2-0 record, four points and a +4 goal differential.
- The Blackhawks ranked last in both goals per game (2.46) and total goals for (202), allowed the 5th-most goals per game (3.65) and deployed the 28th-ranked power play unit (16.4%) and 22nd-ranked penalty kill unit (76.2%) in 2022.
- Considering the Bruins topped the Blackhawks, 3-1 last week in their home opener, this game should play out similarly. Despite Connor Bedard (1G, 2A) netting his first career goal in the first period, the Bruins controlled the rest of the game and allowed just 21 total shots. The Blackhawks’ goaltending has been solid enough thus far, whether it’s Arvid Soderblom (.955 save percentage) or Petr Mrazek (.935 save percentage). Soderblom got the start last week versus the Bruins and stopped 30-of-32 shots, and considering Mrazek posted a poor 3.66 GAA in 2022 and already has a worse save percentage than Soderblom this season, it will very likely be Soderblom again to help slow down Pastrnak and the rest of the top-six.
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