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Boston Bruins DraftKings NHL Fantasy Hockey Preview: December 14 to December 20

Hunter Skoczylas previews the Bruins’ upcoming fantasy hockey matchups.

Arizona Coyotes v Boston Bruins Photo by China Wong/NHLI via Getty Images

The Boston Bruins started their week with a 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres but responded with a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes two days later to remain tied with the New York Rangers for the top Eastern Conference team. Boston sits atop the Atlantic Division with an 18-5-3 record, 39 points and a +22 goal differential.

Despite coming into the game having won 18 of the last 20 meetings versus the Sabres and already beating them 5-2 this season, the Bruins dropped this one at home, 3-1. The Bruins were out-shot 35 to 32 but Brad Marchand (1G) carried the momentum from his hat-trick against the Columbus Blue Jackets and scored their lone goal in the second period.

Two days later, the Bruins topped the Coyotes, 5-3, despite being out-shot yet again, 34 to 29. Unsurprisingly, David Pastrnak (2G, 1A) padded the stat sheet, scoring the first and last goals of the game and assisting on Boston’s lone power play goal. Trent Frederic (2A) picked up two assists while Linus Ullmark (.912 save percentage) stopped 31-of-34 shots en route to his ninth win of the season.

Still on tap to finish off the week are the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Following the tilt in New Jersey, Boston finishes its two-game road trip against the New York Islanders and plays host to both the Rangers and Minnesota Wild.

Top Goal-Scorers: David Pastrnak (16), Brad Marchand (12), Charlie Coyle (10), Pavel Zacha (8)

Top Point-Getters: David Pastrnak (39), Brad Marchand (25), Charlie Coyle (21), Pavel Zacha (19)

Top Goaltenders: Linus Ullmark (9-4-1 record, 2.71 GAA) Jeremy Swayman (9-1-2 record, 2.08 GAA)

(All stats as of Tuesday, Dec. 12)

Bruins upcoming schedule:

  • Friday, December 15 at New York Islanders
  • Saturday, December 16 vs. New York Rangers
  • Tuesday, December 19 vs. Minnesota Wild

Bruins injury update:

  • D Derek Forbort (undisclosed) was placed on long-term injured reserve on Thursday, Dec. 7.
  • Both C Pavel Zacha (upper body) and D Charlie McAvoy (upper body) are considered day-to-day after missing Monday’s practice.

Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games

Friday, December 15 at New York Islanders

  • The New York Islanders have a 13-7-7 record, are in second place in the Metropolitan Division and are tied for third overall in the Eastern Conference with 33 points and a -4 goal differential.
  • The Bruins have won eight of the last 10 regular season meetings versus the Islanders while averaging 3.7 goals per game. New York is hot right now, however, having won seven of its last 10 games and averaging 3.9 goals per game.
  • As a team, the Islanders have averaged 3.04 goals and allowed 3.15 goals per game despite deploying one of the best goaltenders in the entire league. Ilya Sorokin (.914 save percentage) has faced a league-leading 660 shots and is the only goaltender with a save percentage of .911 or better that has faced at least 600 shots this season. He’s good enough to completely steal games from his opponents but New York is in some trouble with Ryan Pulock (2G, 4A) being placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. New York plays relatively clean hockey outside of allowing the second-most shots per game (36.0) — committing a giveaway in its defensive zone just 42.51% of the time, good for the second in the league behind only Boston. The Islanders have a -13.04 goals against above-expected percentage.
  • On the offensive side of things, New York has plenty of firepower whether it’s Mathew Barzal (9G, 20A), Bo Horvat (10G, 15A) or even Noah Dobson (5G, 22A), who is tied for the fourth-most assists by a defensemen this season. New York has been hot lately and it’s primarily because of the amount of goals it has been able to get on net. In fact, the offense has been consistent enough that it ranks 10th in goal differential above expected (5.31).

Saturday, December 16 vs. New York Rangers

  • The New York Rangers have a 19-6-1 record, are in first place in the Metropolitan Division and are tied for first overall in the Eastern Conference with 39 points and a +15 goal differential.
  • In a matchup between the two top Eastern Conference teams, the Bruins will look for revenge after losing 7-4 to the Rangers on the road on Nov. 25. Despite the loss, the Bruins still have a 13-5-2 record against the Rangers across the last 20 regular season meetings.
  • Boston’s stretch of having to face elite goaltenders continues as Igor Shesterkin (.908 save percentage) and Jonathan Quick (.922 save percentage) have been about as consistent as you can get from a duo of goaltenders. Although New York has had some rough losses to inferior opponents in the last 10 games, it still plays extremely clean and sound hockey — allowing just 29.9 shots and 2.69 goals per game. On top of playing solid defense, the Rangers rank top-10 in both penalty kill (84.7%) and power play percentage (30.0%), making them one of, if not the toughest teams to beat on a nightly basis.
  • Considering New York is the fourth-best power play team, the offensive pairings have been impressive but it can’t be too hard to be successful on the man advantage when you’re deploying Artemi Panarin (16G, 22A), who is tied for the third-most power play points (16). New York has plenty of firepower outside of Panarin, however, starting with Vincent Trocheck (6G, 19A) and Adam Fox (3G, 14A). While everything may look great on paper, the Rangers would probably be even more dominant if they just produced more consistently. They already average 30.1 shots per game and 3.27 goals per game but rank 17th in both expected goal percentage (49.75%) and true goal percentage (50.0%).

Tuesday, December 19 vs. Minnesota Wild

  • The Minnesota Wild have a 10-12-4 record, are in sixth place in the Central Division and 10th overall in the Western Conference with 24 points and a -7 goal differential.
  • The Bruins have a 12-7-1 record in the last 20 regular season meetings against the Wild. Despite starting the season off on the wrong foot, Minnesota has won five of its last seven games with a +13 goal differential.
  • Following the two-game stretch against both New York teams, Boston should have it a bit easier against Minnesota. First, Jonas Brodin (1G, 8A) is considered week-to-week with an upper-body injury, leaving a large gap in Minnesota’s defensive pairings for the foreseeable future. The Wild have already had their fair share of goaltending woes this season with Filip Gustavsson (.900 save percentage) and Marc-Andre Fleury (.886 save percentage) both failing to find any sort of consistency thus far, making this whole situation a dire one. Minnesota ranks dead last in penalty kill percentage (71.7%) on top of allowing 30.0 shots and 3.31 goals per game this season and without Brodin, it’s likely going to get worse and even more challenging to string wins together.
  • It’s not all bad for the Wild, though, as the offense deploys enough talent to keep them in games. Mats Zuccarello (6G, 22A) has usurped Kirill Kaprizov (8G, 16A) as the top point-getter for Minnesota thanks to his elite playmaking skills. The power play unit (17.8%) could certainly be better but the offense ranks fourth in goals above expected average (9.11) and still has a positive expected goal differential (2.55) in the middle of some serious goaltending issues.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is huntersk) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.