The Boston Bruins’ undefeated season may have come to an end with an overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks last week but they still remain in first place in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with an 8-0-1 record, 17 points and a +15 goal differential through nine games. Boston followed up its first loss with two wins over the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers at home.
Boston has struggled with Anaheim early this season, failing to score until the third period in the first meeting and then allowing two unanswered third-period goals in the second meeting just to lose in overtime. Charlie McAvoy (3A) assisted on all three goals, however, and is now tied for the most assists on the team.
The Bruins handled the red-hot Red Wings on Saturday, winning 4-1 thanks to three points from none other than David Pastrnak (2G, 1A) — including two third-period goals to secure Boston’s seventh win of the season. Things weren’t as easy for the Bruins against the Panthers as they fell to an early 2-0 deficit in the first period but thanks to goals from both McAvoy and Brad Marchand (1G), the game was forced into overtime and Pavel Zacha (1G) netted the game-winning goal.
On tap for the Bruins are some rather high-powered offensive attacks with the Toronto Maple Leafs coming into town followed by a two-game road trip against the Red Wings and Dallas Stars.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 8 goals (Brad Marchand is second with 5 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 14 points (Brad Marchand is second with 9 points)
Top Goaltender: Jeremy Swayman — 4-0-0 record, 1.26 goals against per game (GA/G), .957 save percentage
(All stats as of Tuesday, Oct. 31)
Bruins upcoming schedule:
- Thursday, November 2 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- Saturday, November 4 at Detroit Red Wings
- Monday, November 6 at Dallas Stars
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
- Bruins LW Milan Lucic (ankle) was placed on long-term injured reserve
- Bruins C Jakub Lauko (eye) will be unavailable for “at least a week”
- Bruins D Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) could miss multiple weeks
Thursday, November 2 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have a 5-2-1 record, are tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference with 11 points and a +5 goal differential through eight games.
- Toronto has been a bit up-and-down to start the season, scoring seven and six goals in its first two games, respectively, only to score a combined two goals across the following two games. Nonetheless, slowing down an offensive attack led by players like Auston Matthews (7G, 3A), William Nylander (6G, 6A), Mitch Marner (2G, 5A) and John Tavares (4G, 7A) is not going to be an easy task. The Maple Leafs rank ninth in goals scored (28), sixth in shots per game (33.6) and fifth in high-danger shots (21).
- As dominant as Boston’s penalty kill unit has been so far this season (97.3%), Toronto’s fifth-ranked power play unit (32.1%) presents an elite matchup on paper, and the game will almost certainly come down to how each team plays when on or against the man advantage. The Bruins’ power play unit has taken a step back to start the season, ranking 16th and scoring just 16.7% of the time. Luckily, the Leafs’ penalty kill unit is tied for the sixth-worst in the league (74.1%), making this a great spot for the Bruins to increase their power play percentage and find some consistency.
- Goaltending has not been Toronto’s friend like it has for Boston so far this season. Ilya Samsonov (3.99 GA/G and .841 save percentage) has struggled mightily, allowing nearly four games per game while backup goaltender Joseph Woll (1.33 GA/G and .961 save percentage) has been much more efficient — winning three of his four starts so far this season. Much of it has to do with Toronto’s defense giving up the fourth-most giveaways to opponents thus far (68).
Saturday, November 4 at Detroit Red Wings
- The Detroit Red Wings have a 6-3-1 record, are in second place in the Atlantic Division and third overall in the Eastern Conference with 13 points and a +9 goal differential through 10 games.
- After starting the season with a 5-1 record, the Red Wings cooled down a bit after they dropped three straight games. Detroit’s offensive attack led by Dylan Larkin (4G, 11A) and Alex DeBrincat (9G, 4A) leads the league in goals for (40) and deploys 19 different skaters that have recorded at least one point so far this season. When playing 5-on-5, the Red Wings’ goals for above-expected average ranks third in the league (6.54). While they're generating the fifth-best goals per 60 average (3.14), their goal differential per 60 average equates to just 0.75, primarily because of their inconsistent goaltending and defense.
- During Detroit’s three-game losing streak, it averaged 3.0 goals and allowed 4.5 goals per game. Ville Husso (3.28 GA/G and .900 save percentage) has been the primary starter thus far, although veteran offseason acquisition James Reimer (1.68 GA/G and .939 save percentage) has been the far more efficient goaltender. Husso got the start in last week’s meeting and stopped 27-of-30 shots but Detroit lost, 4-1. It all depends if Detroit’s offensive attack shows up or not but Reimer could draw the start for a different look and outcome.
- This game features Detroit’s fourth-ranked power play unit (32.4%) and Boston’s league-leading penalty kill unit (97.3%). The Red Wings rank 25th in expected goals percentage (47.59%) when playing 5-on-5 and have found most of their success when playing on the man advantage. If their offensive issues aren’t addressed, the outcome will likely look similar to the last meeting between these two teams and Boston should control the game.
Monday, November 6 at Dallas Stars
- The Dallas Stars have a 5-1-1 record, are in second place in the Central Division and are tied for third overall in the Western Conference with 11 points and a +4 goal differential through seven games.
- After facing two strong offensive teams, Boston will have to switch gears and face a defensively-sound Dallas squad that is allowing just 2.4 goals per game, tied for the fourth-lowest average in the league. On offense, Dallas has scored just 21 goals in seven games, tied for the fifth-fewest in the league. The Stars deploy 11 skaters with at least three points this season but only three of them have netted at least three goals with Wyatt Johnson (4G, 3A), Roope Hintz (3G, 3A) and Joe Pavelski (3G, 3A) leading the way in terms of points.
- Dallas’ defense and goaltending is where the success has been so far this season. Dallas has only allowed 17 goals this season, just three more than Boston and good for the second-fewest in the league. Jake Oettinger (1.74 GA/G and .940 save percentage) posts the fifth-best GA/G average so far this season despite facing the most shots (151) of the four goaltenders ranked ahead of him. Dallas has faced over 30 shots per game this season and is only one of two teams allowing fewer than 2.5 goals per game to face that amount of shots per game.
- While we’ve focused on Dallas’ strong defensive stats, its penalty kill unit has been nearly just as dominant as Boston’s. Ranked only behind Boston, of course, Dallas deploys the second-best penalty kill unit (95.5%). However, the Stars deploy the 29th-ranked power play unit (9.5%), so their hands will be full in trying to steal a goal or two on the man advantage against a team like the Bruins. While Boston has also struggled on the man advantage, it hasn't been nearly as bad as Dallas’ situation and in a defensive game with very few errors, the power play will be a key area to securing the win.
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