After some dominant hockey for the first few weeks of the season, the Boston Bruins came back down to Earth this past week — dropping all three games to the Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets. Boston has now lost five of its last eight games, with three of them coming in regulation. It’s not all bad news, however, as the Bruins still remain the top team in the Atlantic Division and are tied with the Rangers for first in the Eastern Conference with a 14-4-3 record, 31 points and a +16 goal differential.
Boston started its week with a 5-2 loss to Detroit at home. The Red Wings are the only team to beat the Bruins twice this season and have scored five goals in both meetings.
The Bruins then went on a two-game road trip, starting with the Rangers — where they lost 7-4 after allowing at least two goals in each period. Charlie Coyle (2G) netted goals in the first and third periods while Linus Ullmark (.825 save percentage) stopped 33-of-40 shots.
Two days later, Boston looked to correct its mistakes against a struggling Columbus squad but lost 5-2 after failing to net any goals until the third period, which proved to be too late. Matthew Poitras (1G) tried to get things going for the Bruins by netting the team’s first goal in the third period but the goaltenders had nights to forget with Ullmark stopping just 18-of-20 shots and Jeremy Swayman (.895 save percentage) stopping 17-of-19 shots.
The Bruins will look to get back on track this week with opponents such as the San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets again on tap.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 13 goals (Charlie Coyle is second with 9 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 31 points (Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle are tied for second with 19 points)
Top Goaltender: Jeremy Swayman — 7-1-2 record, 2.38 goals against per game, .924 save percentage
(All stats as of Tuesday, Nov. 28)
Bruins upcoming schedule:
- Thursday, November 30 vs. San Jose Sharks
- Saturday, December 2 at Toronto Maple Leafs
- Sunday, December 3 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
Thursday, November 30 vs. San Jose Sharks
- The San Jose Sharks have a 5-15-2 record, are in eighth place in the Pacific Division and are tied for 16th overall in the Western Conference with 12 points and a -54 goal differential.
- The Bruins have won 15 of the last 20 meetings against the Sharks and have not lost to them since 2016. San Jose scores the fewest goals (36) and allows the most goals (88) while Boston allows the fifth-fewest goals (55) and sixth-most goals (70). Believe it or not, San Jose has won games in a row while Boston is on a three-game skid.
- The Sharks’ offensive attack has been led by Tomas Hertl (4G, 12A), as he is the only player with double-digit points thus far but he is dealing with a mid-body injury and could end up missing this matchup. As expected, both San Jose’s true goal percentage (27.5%) and expected goal percentage (39.98%) rank dead last in the league. It was looking bleak with Hertl generating as much as he could but with him potentially sidelined, the Bruins should have little to no issues winning this game and getting back on track.
- You could’ve guessed it but the defense and goaltending have been well below-average, as well. The Sharks allow the most shots per game (36.8), have the second-worst penalty kill unit (73.1%) and rank top-10 in high-danger chances against (48). Not a single player has a positive plus/minus and neither goaltender has allowed fewer than 3.6 goals per game. Mackenzie Blackwood (.902 save percentage) surprisingly posts a save percentage above .900 but has still allowed 3.6 goals per game and sports an abysmal 3-9-2 record in 14 starts.
Saturday, December 2 at Toronto Maple Leafs
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have a 10-6-3 record, are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and are tied for fifth overall in the Eastern Conference with 23 points and a +1 goal differential.
- The Bruins have won six of the last 10 meetings versus the Maple Leafs and have already topped them once this season on Nov. 2, 3-2 in a shootout. Boston has won the last four meetings.
- The Maple Leafs rank eighth in both goals per game (3.42) and shots per game (32.0) so there’s no denying that the offensive fireworks will be there. When the offensive attack deploys talented skaters like Auston Matthews (14G, 7A), William Nylander (12G, 15A) and Mitch Marner (5G, 15A), it’s expected. It hasn’t fully translated into success, however, as the Maple Leafs rank just 22nd in true goal percentage (47.67%) and 16th in expected goal percentage (49.72%), suggesting that the quality of their chances could certainly be better.
- It felt like Toronto’s goaltending situation was going to be better this season but it started to fall off after a relatively strong start. Joseph Woll (.910 save percentage) started the season as the backup but after stringing together strong performances, he finds himself with just one less start than starter Ilya Samsonov (.878 save percentage) with better production and statistics. Toronto’s top four can certainly help produce offensively but it also allows its opponents to get plenty of pucks on the net, especially in high-danger situations. The Maple Leafs allow the 10th-most shots per game (31.6) and rank 12th in high-danger chances against (47).
Sunday, December 3 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
- The Columbus Blue Jackets have a 7-12-4 record, are in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division and are 15th overall in the Eastern Conference with 18 points and a -12 goal differential.
- Prior to last week’s 5-2 loss, the Bruins had won seven of the previous nine meetings against the Blue Jackets. The outcome of that game certainly feels like an outlier on the final game of a rough stretch and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bruins come out much more aggressive and prepared this time around. The Blue Jackets have lost seven of their last 10 games but have won three of their last four games.
- Columbus’ record shows it isn’t an elite team by any means but the goal production has been impressive thus far. As a squad, the Blue Jackets are tied for the seventh-most goals scored (68) and fifth-most high-danger chances (47). Led by Boone Jenner (11G, 5A) and strong offensive production from defensemen Zach Werenski (1G, 14A) and Ivan Provorov (2G, 12A), the Blue Jackets have kept themselves competitive (for the most part) despite the record. When it comes to the power play, that’s a different story, as they deploy the fifth-worst power play unit in the league (11.1%) and have produced a league-low eight power play goals.
- While the power play struggles, the penalty kill does not as it ranks second (89.2%) behind only the Los Angeles Kings. Columbus’ top four not only produces offensively but kills penalty consistently enough to give the team chances to win. But, the Blue Jackets rank fourth in both shots allowed per game (33.6) and high-danger chances against (49) on top of already allowing the 11th-most goals per game (3.39). Elvis Merzlikins (.907 save percentage) has drawn nine more starts than Spencer Martin (.903 save percentage) this season but Martin stopped 31-of-33 shots in the last meeting versus Boston.
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