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Boston Bruins DraftKings NHL Fantasy Hockey Preview: December 21 to December 27

Hunter Skoczylas previews the Bruins’ upcoming fantasy hockey matchups.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Despite dropping two of their last three games in overtime and/or shootout, the Boston Bruins remain the top squad in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with a 19-5-5 record, 43 points and a +21 goal differential.

Following last week’s 2-1 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins were set to face both New York teams — the Islanders and Rangers — on back-to-back days. The Bruins topped the Islanders, 5-4, on Friday thanks to the game-winning shootout goal from none other than David Pastrnak (1G, 1A). Morgan Geekie (1G, 1A) picked up two points in his first game with increased ice time given Pavel Zacha’s placement on injured reserve one day before.

The Bruins couldn’t bring the same momentum against the Rangers, however, losing 2-1 in overtime and marking the second loss to them already this season. Boston struggled to play clean hockey and get pucks on the net consistently — totaling 30 penalty minutes and just 22 shots. In comparison, the Rangers registered 34 shots and just 15 minutes. Trent Frederic (1G) netted Boston’s lone goal while Jeremy Swayman (.941 save percentage) did all he could, stopping 32-of-34 shots.

On tap for Boston is the Minnesota Wild twice in the next five days along with the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres.

Top Goal-Scorers: David Pastrnak (17), Brad Marchand (12), Charlie Coyle (10), Pavel Zacha (8)

Top Point-Getters: David Pastrnak (41), Brad Marchand (26), Charlie Coyle (21), James van Riemsdyk (20)

Top Goaltenders: Linus Ullmark (10-4-1 record, 2.79 GAA), Jeremy Swayman (9-1-4 record, 2.06 GAA)

(All stats as of Tuesday, Dec. 19)

Bruins upcoming schedule:

  • Friday, December 22 at Winnipeg Jets
  • Saturday, December 23 at Minnesota Wild
  • Wednesday, December 27 at Buffalo Sabres

Bruins injury update:

  • C Pavel Zacha (upper body) was placed on injured reserve on Thursday, Dec. 14.

Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games

Friday, December 22 at Winnipeg Jets

  • The Winnipeg Jets have an 18-9-3 record, are in second place in the Central Division and fourth overall in the Western Conference with 39 points and a +20 goal differential.
  • The Bruins have won six straight and seven of the last 10 regular season meetings against the Jets. Across the last 10 games this season, Winnipeg has won six of them with a +8 goal differential.
  • While things may match up very well here on paper, the loss of Kyle Connor (17G, 11A) for at least the next 6-to-8 weeks with a knee injury is going to leave a huge offensive dent in this offense moving forward. Other forwards like Mark Scheifele (11G, 22A), Nikolaj Ehlers (10G, 13A) and Cole Perfetti (10G, 10A) will be expected to step up, and frankly, that’s what they’ve done since Connor went down. Winnipeg ranks 14th in shots per game (30.7), 11th in goals per game (3.30) and fifth in goals above expected (9.03) — so clearly something is working.
  • Things haven’t necessarily translated the correct way when on or against the man advantage, however with Winnipeg ranking 23rd in power play percentage (16.7%) and 27th in penalty kill percentage (73.9%). Considering the Jets generate 9.03 goals above expected, one would imagine they’d be even better on the man advantage, right? Negative. The Jets somehow lose that offensive edge on the power play, ranking 12th and generating just 2.56 goals above expected. Connor Hellebuyck (.916 save percentage) has the ability to steal games any given night and ranks second in goaltender wins thus far but has just a 3-6-1 record and 2.97 GAA against the Bruins in his career.

Saturday, December 23 at Minnesota Wild

  • The Minnesota Wild have a 12-13-4 record, are in sixth place in the Central Division and 10th overall in the Western Conference with 28 points and a -6 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 seven of its last 10 games with a +12 goal differential.
  • First, Jonas Brodin (1G, 8A) is still sidelined 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 (.906 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 second-last in penalty kill percentage (74.3%) 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. But Mats Zuccarello (6G, 22A) has an upper-body injury and is a “possibility” against the Bruins. He has usurped Kirill Kaprizov (8G, 16A) as the top point-getter for Minnesota thanks to his elite playmaking skills but things will get even tougher if he is forced to miss time. The power play unit (16.3%) could certainly be better but the offense ranks fourth in goals above expected average (9.19) and still has a positive expected goal differential (2.92) in the middle of some serious goaltending issues.

Wednesday, December 27 at Buffalo Sabres

  • The Buffalo Sabres have a 13-16-3 record, are in sixth place in the Atlantic Division and 10th overall in the Eastern Conference with 29 points and a -15 goal differential.
  • The Bruins topped the Sabres, 5-2, on Nov. 14 but fell to them at home on Dec. 7, 3-1, for just the second time since 2019. Still, Boston has won a whopping 17 of the last 20 games against Buffalo. Boston is 5-3-2 in its last 10 games with a -2 goal differential while Buffalo is 3-6-1 with a -7 goal differential in that span.
  • What once was a strong offensive attack for Buffalo last season is nowhere to be found thus far as it is averaging just 30.1 shots and 2.81 goals per game. Both Tage Thompson (7G, 8A) and Alex Tuch (9G, 10A) have returned to the lineup but Jeff Skinner (12G, 10A) and Jordan Greenway (2G, 5A) are sidelined still, leaving Buffalo constantly switching its lines up. Buffalo deploys 11 skaters with at least double-digit points but has averaged just 2.6 goals per game across the last 10 games. As expected, the Sabres rank 23rd in expected goal percentage (48.0%) and 21st in true goal percentage (48.57%).
  • While Buffalo rosters one of the top defensemen in the league in Rasmus Dahlin (7G, 18A), he’s about all they have in terms of defensive consistency. Owen Power (1G, 11A) has provided ample support from the second pairing but there is an overall lack of consistency in the defensemen room. Although the Sabres have allowed the 10th-fewest shots per game (29.6), they’ve also allowed the 12th-most goals per game (3.25) — primarily because of their lack of commitment to one starting goaltender. Devon Levi (.898 save percentage) and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (.901 save percentage) have cast themselves ahead in the rotation lately and have looked improved as the season has progressed. Since being called back up from the AHL, Levi has won both starts and allowed just two goals in each.

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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.