Through the first 14 games of the season, the Boston Bruins sit atop both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with a 10-1-2 record, 24 points and a +18 goal differential. Boston leads the league in both point percentage (.857) and fewest goals allowed (28) on top of being the only remaining team with just one regulation loss. The Bruins started their week with a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders but dropped their second overtime loss of the season to the Montreal Canadiens two days later, 3-2. Three of Boston’s last six games have gone into overtime or a shootout.
Thanks to Charlie Coyle (3G, 1A) and his first career hat trick, the Bruins handled the Islanders easily. David Pastrnak (1G, 2A) and James van Riemsdyk (2A) provided ample support to help Boston secure its 11th win of the season while Linus Ullmark (.931 save percentage) stopped 27-of-29 shots en route to his fifth win of the season.
That same offensive firepower didn't carry over when Boston lost to Montreal, 3-2, in overtime. Pavel Zacha (1G) got things going for Boston early by scoring just 36 seconds into the game while Brad Marchand (1G, 1A) tied it up late in the third period with his seventh goal of the season. Jeremy Swayman (.889 save percentage) stopped just 24-of-27 shots and picked up his first loss of the season.
On tap for Boston is a home game against Montreal followed by a two-game road trip against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. But first, the Bruins will look to finish this week on a strong note when they go on the road to take on the Buffalo Sabres — a team they have beaten nine times in the last 10 meetings.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 10 goals (Brad Marchand is second with 7 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 21 points (Brad Marchand is second with 15 points)
Top Goaltender: Jeremy Swayman — 6-0-1 record, 1.69 goals against per game, .944 save percentage
(All stats as of Tuesday, Nov. 14)
Bruins upcoming schedule:
- Saturday, November 18 vs. Montreal Canadiens
- Monday, November 20 at Tampa Bay Lightning
- Wednesday, November 22 at Florida Panthers
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
- Bruins D Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) was placed on long-term injured reserve on Nov. 1
- Bruins C Jakub Lauko (eye) was activated from injured reserve
- Bruins C Morgan Geekie (upper body) was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 9
- Bruins LW Milan Lucic (ankle) is “maybe a week behind where we expected” from returning from long-term injured reserve
Saturday, November 18 vs. Montreal Canadiens
- The Montreal Canadiens have a 7-6-2 record, are tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Division and are tied for fifth overall in the Eastern Conference with 16 points and a -9 goal differential.
- Aside from last week’s overtime loss, the Bruins had won 10 straight meetings against the Canadiens — averaging 4.6 goals and allowing just 1.9 goals per game in that span. However, across the last four meetings, Boston has failed to eclipse 30 shots on goal even once. Last week’s loss feels very much like an outlier, especially considering the Bruins out-shot the Canadiens, 28 to 27, and I’d expect a whole different approach to getting the puck on the net more often. Montreal has also dropped five of its last seven games.
- It should be relatively easy for the Bruins to get shots on the net as the Canadiens have allowed the fourth-most shots per game (34.4) and seventh-most high-danger chances (34) this season. Sixteen skaters have scored at least one goal while four of them have already posted at least 12 points through 15 games. It isn’t just Montreal’s top line that has found consistent success but rather its top three lines. Nick Suzuki (6G, 7A) ranks second on the team in points and has provided ample support from the top line but the third line comprised of Sean Monahan (6G, 7A), Brendan Gallagher (5G, 3A) and Tanner Pearson (3G, 3A) has been nothing short of impressive in terms of production and consistency.
- Both Sam Montembeault (2.89 GAA, .905 save percentage) and Jake Allen (3.30 GAA, .911 save percentage) have helped the Canadiens string together occasional good performances. Despite the team still allowing the 12th-most goals per game (3.40), it’s still a slight upgrade from last season’s average (3.67). Allen’s veteran presence has been crucial for Montembeault’s development and overall level of play so far this season.
- Montreal ranks second in penalty minutes (200), 20th in penalty kill percentage (76.2%) and 10th in power play percentage (23.0%) — an area Boston will look to exploit all game. Both teams netted power play goals in the last meeting.
Monday, November 20 at Tampa Bay Lightning
- The Tampa Bay Lightning have a 6-5-4 record, are tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division and are tied for fifth overall in the Eastern Conference with 16 points and a -1 goal differential.
- Boston has won seven of the last 10 meetings against Tampa Bay — averaging 2.7 goals and allowing 2.1 goals per game in that span. On top of that, Boston averaged three penalties per game, something it cannot afford against Tampa Bay’s fourth-best power play unit this season (31.4%). The Bolts come into this matchup rather cold, having dropped six of their last 10 games.
- Everyone knows how deadly the Bolts’ offensive attack can be when they’re consistently deploying top skaters like Nikita Kucherov (11G, 12A), Steven Stamkos (5G, 10A) and Brayden Point (6G, 12A). And it’s even less surprising that the Bolts are tied for the fourth-most goals (53) and rank eighth in goals per game (3.53). Four skaters are currently producing at least one point per game and 18 of 22 possible skaters have recorded a point.
- That’s enough talk about Tampa Bay’s strong offensive attack and more about its major defensive struggles so far this season. Despite the consistent offensive production, the Bolts are letting up the fifth-most goals per game (3.60) and fifth-most shots per game (33.2%). On top of already allowing a ton of consistent shots on net, the Bolts are tied for the fifth-most high-danger chances (36). Jonas Johansson (3.42 GAA, .899 save percentage) has assumed the full-time role with Andrei Vasilevskiy sidelined due to injury and it has not been pretty. He posts just a 5-3-4 record and if not for Tampa Bay’s scoring frenzies, it could be much, much worse.
Wednesday, November 22 at Florida Panthers
- The Florida Panthers have a 9-4-1 record, are in second place in the Atlantic Division and are third overall in the Eastern Conference with 19 points and a +4 goal differential.
- Boston has won seven of the last 10 meetings versus Florida with the most recent meeting on Oct. 30 going into overtime and resulting in a 3-2 win for Boston. The Bruins averaged 3.3 goals and allowed 2.8 goals per game in that span. The Panthers come into this matchup red-hot, winning four straight games and seven of their last 10 games.
- The Panthers have been sound both offensively and defensively to start the season — averaging just the 20th-most goals per game (3.14) but allowing the ninth-fewest goals per game (2.86). Sam Reinhart (11G, 10A) leads the team in points and is the only player with double-digit goals and assists but Florida’s entire top six has been consistent enough to stack wins. Despite ranking 20th in goals per game, the Panthers have done a tremendous job in getting the puck on the net consistently — tying for the second-most shots per game (34.1). Sergei Bobrovsky (2.68 GAA, .905 save percentage) has shown glimpses of his once-elite form often and posts an 8-3-1 record as a result. The Bruins were out-shot 37 to 26 in the Oct. 30 meeting yet came out with an overtime win and I’d be willing to bet that luck won't save them this time around if it continues into this meeting.
- The Panthers struggled last season with penalties, ranking second in total penalty minutes (998), but have cleaned that area up fast with just 109 penalty minutes so far this season — the fourth-fewest in the league. However, their power play units and penalty kill units haven’t been productive. Florida deploys the 10th-worst power play unit (15.9%) and the 12th-worst penalty kill unit (76.1%) so far this season. Despite deploying plenty of talented skaters, the Panthers expected goal percentage when on the man advantage ranks right in the middle at 16th (89.67%).
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