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Boston Bruins DraftKings NHL Fantasy Hockey Preview: December 28 to January 3

Hunter Skoczylas previews the Bruins’ upcoming fantasy hockey matchups.

Boston Bruins v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

The month of December has been rough for the Boston Bruins as they dropped both games last week to the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild — bringing their record this month to just 4-3-3. Despite the recent inconsistencies, the Bruins still sit atop the Atlantic Division and are second in the Eastern Conference with a 19-7-6 record, 44 points and a +15 goal differential.

Boston started its week with a 5-1 loss to Winnipeg on the road. Brandon Carlo (1G) netted his second goal of the season and Boston’s lone goal in the third period but the lack of offensive pressure was apparent from the start and led to Jeremy Swayman (.848 save percentage) facing nearly 10 more shots.

The Bruins couldn’t figure it out on offense the following day either, losing 3-2 against the Wild. Despite David Pastrnak (1G) netting a power play goal in the first period, Boston couldn't keep it going and registered just 21 shots compared to Minnesota’s 35. Morgan Geekie (1G) netted a goal late in the third period to decrease the deficit to one but Boston’s 15 penalty minutes and lack of possession in the opposing defensive zone was ultimately too much to overcome.

The Bruins will finish their three-game road trip and look to get back on track against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. On tap for next week are the New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Top Goal-Scorers: David Pastrnak (20), Brad Marchand (13), Charlie Coyle (10), Pavel Zacha (8)

Top Point-Getters: David Pastrnak (44), Brad Marchand (28), Charlie Coyle (21), James van Riemsdyk (21)

Top Goaltenders: Linus Ullmark (10-5-2 record, 2.87 GAA), Jeremy Swayman (9-2-4 record, 2.25 GAA)

(All stats as of Tuesday, Dec. 26)

Bruins upcoming schedule:

  • Saturday, December 30 vs. New Jersey Devils
  • Sunday, December 31 at Detroit Red Wings
  • Tuesday, January 2 at Columbus Blue Jackets

Bruins injury update:

  • D Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) has missed the last two games and is listed as day-to-day.

Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games

Saturday, December 30 vs. New Jersey Devils

  • The New Jersey Devils have a 17-13-2 record, are in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division and 10th overall in the Eastern Conference with 36 points and a -6 goal differential.
  • Boston has won eight of the last 10 meetings against New Jersey but lost 2-1 just two weeks ago. Much like the Bruins, things haven’t been great for the Devils either lately, dropping three of their last four games.
  • There is no shortage of offensive firepower on this Devils’ roster whether it’s Jack Hughes (14G, 25A), Jesper Bratt (13G, 25A) or Tyler Toffoli (14G, 10A) leading the way. The Devils rank 10th in goals per game (3.41), 11th in shots per game (31.7), fifth in expected goal percentage (53.68%) and sixth in high-danger chances (81). On top of that, the Devils deploy the third-best power play unit (30.0%). New Jersey can secure games simply because of this high-powered attack but its goaltending and defensive situation is a main area for Boston to exploit.
  • The Devils already struggled defensively with Dougie Hamilton (5G, 11A) in the lineup but he’s been sidelined since the start of December and the defense has suffered as a result. Luke Hughes (4G, 12A) has stepped up in his absence and played well but the unit has been a bit lackluster, to say the least. New Jersey allows the eighth-fewest shots per game (29.3), which may look great on paper but it also somehow allows the fourth-most goals per game (3.56). Vitek Vanecek (.884 save percentage) has struggled quite a bit this season and Akira Schmid (.893 save percentage) hasn’t provided much help or even promise when his name has been called. The Devils allow a whopping 11.28 goals above expected and while the Bruins are struggling on offense, this is a perfect bounce-back spot to get back into their groove.

Sunday, December 31 at Detroit Red Wings

  • The Detroit Red Wings have a 16-14-4 record, are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and 11th overall in the Eastern Conference with 36 points and a +8 goal differential.
  • The Bruins have dropped both meetings against the Red Wings this season (lost 5-4 on Nov. 4 and 5-2 on Nov. 24) and have posted an even 5-5 record against them across the last 10 meetings. The Red Wings, however, have collapsed lately — posting just a 2-7-1 record across the last 10 games with losses to some bottom-feeder teams.
  • Considering how efficient Detroit’s roster looks on paper, you wouldn’t expect this amount of struggle. Led by Alex DeBrincat (15G, 17A), Dylan Larkin (12G, 17A) and Lucas Raymond (10G, 16A), the Red Wings rank fifth in goals per game (3.53) and second in goals above expected (17.94). They deploy seven skaters with at least 20 points and 15 skaters with at least 10 points on top of having solid and productive defensive pairings. Across the last 10 games, however, they averaged just 2.9 goals and allowed a whopping 4.2 goals per game (and the goaltending situation may get worse).
  • First, Ville Husso (.893 save percentage) was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 20 with a lower-body injury and then Alex Lyon (.932 save percentage) picked up an injury just a few days later. Detroit’s options are slim pickings at this point and it will either be James Reimer (.897 save percentage) or an AHL call-up. Regardless of who gets the start in net, this looks like another great spot for the Bruins to take advantage of and get back on track. Detroit allows 5.54 goals above expected, good for the 10th-most in the league.

Tuesday, January 2 at Columbus Blue Jackets

  • The Columbus Blue Jackets have an 11-18-6 record, are in last place in the Metropolitan Division and 15th overall in the Eastern Conference with 28 points and a -20 goal differential.
  • The Bruins have won 13 of the last 20 meetings against the Blue Jackets and prior to the 5-2 loss on Nov. 27, they had won six straight. Columbus has lost seven of its last 10 games, allowing 4.3 goals per game in that span.
  • Columbus’ record shows it isn’t an elite team by any means but the goal production has been impressive. As a squad, the Blue Jackets rank 11th in goals scored (108) and fifth in goals above expected (8.2). However, injuries have begun to plague them. Both Boone Jenner (13G, 5A) and Patrik Laine (6G, 3A) have been placed on injured reserve, which has left a large gap in the offense but has also allowed the younger players to get more ice time. Adam Fantilli (9G, 11A), Dmitri Voronkov (6G, 11A) and Yegor Chinakhov (9G, 6A) have all stepped up in their absences and kept games competitive for the most part. As a unit, however, Columbus struggles on the power play, posting the eighth-worst power play percentage (15.3%).
  • While the power play struggles, the penalty kill has been impressive given the injuries as it ranks 12th in penalty kill percentage (81.4%), although it has slowly fallen down the rankings over the last two weeks. The Blue Jackets rank third in goals allowed per game (3.63), shots allowed per game (34.2) and high-danger chances against (83). Elvis Merzlikins (.909 save percentage) has been the starter for the majority of the season and while he sports a .909 save percentage, he still allows 3.17 goals per game and has faced the eighth-most shots (689).

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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.