While the Boston Bruins officially picked up their first regulation loss of the season last week to the Detroit Red Wings, they still sit atop both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with a 10-1-1 record, 21 points and a +16 goal differential through 12 games. Aside from Saturday’s loss, Boston topped both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars. Across Boston’s last six games, five of them have been decided by one goal.
The Bruins started their week off with a 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs at home. Boston jumped out to a 2-0 lead through the first two periods thanks to goals by both Pavel Zacha and Jake DeBrusk. Toronto netted back-to-back unanswered goals in the second period followed by a scoreless third period to force a shootout but both DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle each netted goals to secure the win.
Two days later, Boston traveled to Detroit and picked up its first regulation loss of the season, losing 5-4. Both James van Riemsdyk and Matthew Poitras each netted their fourth goals of the season but Detroit’s third-period scoring frenzy was ultimately too much for Boston to overcome. The Bruins were out-shot, 40 to 30 and were assessed a whopping 12 penalties.
Boston doesn’t know what a losing streak is as it took care of business against Dallas on Monday night, winning 3-2. Bruins’ rookies Johnny Beecher and Mason Lohrei each netted their first career goals within five minutes of each other in the first period to get the scoring going and Brad Marchand netted his sixth goal of the season in the third period to secure the win for Boston. Jeremy Swayman stood tall in net, stopping 35-of-37 shots en route to his sixth win in as many games.
On tap for Boston are the New York Islanders at home followed by a two-game divisional road trip against the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 9 goals (Brad Marchand is second with 6 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 17 points (Brad Marchand is second with 11 points)
Top Goaltender: Jeremy Swayman — 6-0-0 record, 1.49 goals against per game (GA/G), .952 save percentage
(All stats as of Tuesday, Nov. 7)
Bruins upcoming schedule:
- Thursday, November 9 vs. New York Islanders
- Saturday, November 11 at Montreal Canadiens
- Tuesday, November 14 at Buffalo Sabres
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
- Bruins LW Milan Lucic (ankle) was placed on long-term injured reserve
- Bruins D Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) was placed on long-term injured reserve
- Bruins C Jakub Lauko (eye) was placed on injured reserve
Thursday, November 9 vs. New York Islanders
- The New York Islanders have a 5-2-3 record, are in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and are tied for fifth overall in the Eastern Conference with 13 points and a zero goal differential.
- Boston has won and averaged 5.0 goals per game in its last four meetings against New York. The Islanders have allowed the third-fewest goals (27) but have only played ten games thus far. Ilya Sorokin (.911 save percentage) has struggled to start the season, allowing 3.12 goals per game and posting just a 3-1-3 record through seven starts. The crease is still very much Sorokin’s but backup goaltender Semyon Varlamov (.972 save percentage) has posted back-to-back shutouts and allowed just one goal per game.
- While New York has two viable goaltenders to help slow down Boston, it has allowed 35.6 shots per game — good for the second-most in the league. Aside from Noah Dobson (3G, 7A), who leads the team in points, there are no real defensive threats and Boston should have very few problems getting the puck on the net despite being out-shot in the majority of its games this season. If the Bruins expect consistent defensive mistakes, however, that won't be the case as the Islanders record giveaways in their defensive zone just 41.18% of the time — the second-best mark in the league.
- Things aren’t great on offense for New York, either, as it averages just 2.7 goals per game and has just five skaters with at least three goals and 11 with at least one goal. New York’s second line comprised of Brock Nelson (5G, 2A), Kyle Palmieri (3G, 5A) and Pierre Engvall (0G, 5A) has been the most consistent thus far and will almost certainly have to be at the top of its game against Boston, who’s averaging 3.2 goals per game.
Saturday, November 11 at Montreal Canadiens
- The Montreal Canadiens have a 5-4-2 record, are tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division and are tied for sixth overall in the Eastern Conference with 12 points and a -6 goal differential.
- Although they’re still allowing 3.4 goals per game this season, veteran Jake Allen (.927 save percentage) has been playing some of the best hockey since his St. Louis Blues days and has provided a much-needed boost behind this young Canadiens squad. While he’s played well thus far, Montreal still gives up 35.2 shots per game — the fourth-highest average in the league and an area it struggled with mightily in 2022. Montreal has also given up 23 high-danger shots against, good for the 13th-most.
- The Canadiens have given up more goals (37) than they’ve scored so far (32) but the offensive attack still looks significantly improved, deploying 12 skaters with at least one goal and seven with at least five points. Cole Caufield (4G, 7A) and Sean Monahan (6G, 4A) have led the top six while Alex Newhook (3G, 3A) has provided ample support on the third pairing.
- Boston has had its fair share of penalties this season, ranking seventh in penalty minutes (139) but the good news is that Montreal ranks fourth in that same category (159), making this a great spot for the power play to find some success. Not only do the Canadiens take a ton of penalties but they also struggle to kill them, ranking 23rd in penalty kill percentage (75.0%). Although the Canadiens have found more power play success than the Bruins thus far (20.5% compared to 17.5%), I expect this to be a night where they figure it out and net multiple power play goals.
Tuesday, November 14 at Buffalo Sabres
- The Buffalo Sabres have a 6-6-0 record, are tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division and are tied for sixth overall in the Eastern Conference with 12 points and a +1 goal differential.
- Boston has won nine of its last ten meetings against Buffalo and eight of the last nine when playing in Buffalo. The Sabres rank seventh and eighth in goals for and goals allowed with 39 and 38, respectively, but only rank 18th in expected goal percentage, suggesting the quality of their shots is not ideal.
- Nonetheless, Buffalo has a high-powered offensive attack when it’s humming. At least 21 skaters have recorded a point while four of them have already eclipsed the double-digit mark. Whether it’s Jeff Skinner (6G, 5A), Tage Thompson (6G, 4A) or Casey Mittelstadt (3G, 8A), the Sabres deploy some talented skaters at any given moment and can unleash unexpected scoring frenzies. Despite this semi-consistent offensive success, they average just 29.0 shots per game as a unit.
- The Sabres’ top four features very promising talent in Rasmus Dahlin (2G, 8A) and Owen Power (1G, 6A) but there hasn’t been much defensive consistency to start the season. As a team, Buffalo has allowed the 10th-fewest shots per game (30.0) but the 8th-most goals per game (3.2), suggesting that easy chances are getting past its defenders and goaltenders. The Sabres have rolled with a three-headed attack between the pipes this season but it will likely be either Devon Levi (.885 save percentage) or Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (.901 save percentage) — two young and unproven goaltenders. Both are allowing at least 3.14 goals per game thus far and these small inconsistencies are exactly the things teams like the Bruins take advantage of.
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