After dropping all three of their games last week, the Boston Bruins got right back on track with wins over the San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets this week. Boston remains atop the Atlantic Division and is tied with the New York Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference with a 17-4-3 record, 37 points and a +22 goal differential.
The Bruins started their week with a strong 3-0 shutout win over the Sharks thanks to a strong bounce-back performance from Jeremy Swayman (.1000 save percentage) along with solid offensive support from Pavel Zacha (1G, 1A), who has now recorded at least one point in seven of the last 10 games.
Boston continued the strong play when it traveled on the road to take on Toronto, winning 4-3 in overtime thanks to the game-winning goal from Brad Marchand (1G). David Pastrnak (1G, 2A) got the scoring going early in the first period while Linus Ullmark (.925 save percentage) picked up his eighth win of the season.
After falling to the Blue Jackets on the road just last week, the Bruins took care of business this time around at home, winning 3-1. After a scoreless first period and an eventual 1-0 deficit heading into the third period, Marchand put the team on his back and netted three third-period goals (two on the power play) and recorded his sixth-career hat-trick.
On tap for Boston this week are the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 14 goals (Brad Marchand is second with 11 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 36 points (Brad Marchand is second with 23 points)
Top Goaltender: Jeremy Swayman — 9-1-2 record, 2.08 goals against per game, .932 save percentage
(All stats as of Tuesday, Dec. 5)
Bruins upcoming schedule:
- Thursday, December 7 vs. Buffalo Sabres
- Saturday, December 9 vs. Arizona Coyotes
- Wednesday, December 13 at New Jersey Devils
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
Thursday, December 7 vs. Buffalo Sabres
- The Buffalo Sabres have a 10-13-2 record, are in seventh place in the Atlantic Division and 14th overall in the Eastern Conference with 22 points and a -14 goal differential.
- The Bruins already topped the Sabres, 5-2, on Nov. 14 and have won a whopping 18 of the last 20 games against them. Boston is 6-3-1 in its last 10 games and has won three straight games while Buffalo is 3-6-1 and on a three-game losing streak in that same span.
- What once was a strong offensive attack for Buffalo is nowhere to be found so far this season as it is averaging just 29.0 shots and 2.84 goals per game. The loss of Tage Thompson (6G, 6A) and now potentially Alex Tuch (8G, 9A) could make matters even worse for the Sabres moving forward. Thompson is expected to return to the lineup this week, however. Buffalo deploys nine skaters with at least double-digit points but without two of its top scorers, has scored more than three goals in just two of the last 10 games. As expected, the Sabres rank 25th in expected goal percentage (47.1%) and 23rd in true goal percentage (46.9%).
- While Buffalo rosters one of the top defensemen in the league in Rasmus Dahlin (5G, 15A), 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 seventh-fewest shots per game (28.0), they’ve also allowed the 10th-most goals per game (3.40) — primarily because of their lack of commitment to one starting goaltender. They’ve rolled with a three-headed attack thus far but Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (.907 save percentage), who has looked improved as the season has progressed, has cast himself ahead of the others but has still mightily struggled with simple things.
Saturday, December 9 vs. Arizona Coyotes
- The Arizona Coyotes have a 13-9-2 record, are in fourth place in the Central Division and are sixth overall in the Western Conference with 28 points and a +14 goal differential.
- Prior to losing a Dec. 9 game to the Coyotes last season, the Bruins had won 19 of the previous 20 meetings against them. Arizona has won six of its last 10 games this season, including the last five.
- The Coyotes have been surprisingly competitive and exciting to watch so far this season thanks to strong offensive play from both Clayton Keller (8G, 16A) and Nick Schmaltz (9G, 11A). But the team’s success has also stemmed from its production from the other pairings, particularly Michael Carcone (12G, 3A) and Lawson Crouse (10G, 5A), who lead the team in goals and both rank top five in points. The Coyotes rank eighth in true goal percentage (55.32%) but 24th in expected goal percentage (47.65%). On top of that, they’ve also totaled just the 25th-most high-danger chances (43), suggesting the quality of their chances could certainly be better.
- Sean Durzi (5G, 8A) has led the defense in terms of consistency and production but picked up an injury at the start of the week and is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Nonetheless, if the offense can produce, the defense and goaltending have been good enough to steal games. Connor Ingram (.930 save percentage) has been a revelation for Arizona so far this season because he’s allowing just 2.23 goals against, something that was much-needed for this squad to potentially take the next step. As a team, the Coyotes have allowed the 10th-fewest goals per game (2.83) despite allowing the eighth-most shots per game (31.8).
Wednesday, December 13 at New Jersey Devils
- The New Jersey Devils have an 11-10-1 record, are in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division and are tied for eighth overall in the Eastern Conference with 23 points and a -4 goal differential.
- Boston has won six straight and 13 of the last 20 meetings against New Jersey. The Devils have won three of their last four games and have averaged 4.75 goals in each game during that span.
- There is no shortage of offensive firepower on this Devils’ roster whether it’s Jack Hughes (9G, 21A), Jesper Bratt (8G, 18A) or Tyler Toffoli (12G, 9A) leading the way. The Devils rank fourth in goals per game (3.59), fifth in shots per game (33.0), fifth in expected goal percentage (54.48%) and ninth in high-danger chances (55). Boston will have its hands full trying to slow down New Jersey’s constant offensive threat but luckily, the defense and goaltending is a prime spot to target.
- On top of missing Erik Haula (6G, 6A) for the last few games, Dougie Hamilton (5G, 11A) was placed on injured reserve following pectoral surgery — leaving a rather large gap in New Jersey’s defensive presence. The other Hughes’ brother, Luke Hughes (3G, 11A), will have to step up in Hamilton’s absence to help a defense that allows the 10th-fewest shots per game (29.4) but also (somehow) the second-most goals per game (3.73). Vitek Vanecek (.879 save percentage) has received the bulk of the starts and has been underwhelming, to say the least. His poor defensive pairings don’t help his cause but as a team, the Devils have allowed a whopping 10.78 goals above expected and it isn’t going to get any easier against a Bruins’ squad that tends to take advantage of the little things.
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