After nothing but dominant hockey for the first half of the season, the Boston Bruins came back down to Earth after losing three of four games before the All-Star break to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. Boston dropped three straight but cleaned up the sloppy play, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2 on Feb. 1. The Bruins still hold the best record in the league, 39-7-5, and are seven points ahead of the next closest squad with 83.
Boston started its week on the road against the Lightning, losing 3-2 in a highly-contested matchup. It was a battle of the goaltenders with Linus Ullmark stopping 32-of-35 shots, good for a .914 save percentage. Pavel Zacha netted his fourth goal of January to tie the game in the third period but Tampa Bay’s offensive attack was too strong.
Two days later, Boston traveled to Florida to take on a rising Panthers squad. David Pastrnak netted a very late third-period goal to push Boston ahead but the defensive communication cost them, letting up the game-tying goal less than a minute after Pastrnak’s goal and then the game-winning goal just 17 seconds into overtime.
The Bruins found themselves on a losing streak for the first time all season and it didn’t get much easier having to face the red-hot Hurricanes, who are the closest squad in terms of points. It was a night to forget, getting dominated 4-1 and generating just 25 shots. Taylor Hall netted the lone Boston goal in the third period but the normal high-powered offense was severely limited by Carolina’s defense. Ullmark did his best to keep his squad in the game once again, stopping 32-of-35 shots.
Boston certainly didn’t imagine its three-game road stretch to go the way it did but with had a chance to get things back on track against the Maple Leafs. Boston started off February with a comfortable 5-2 win, thanks to two goals from Pavel Zacha and two assists from Charlie Coyle. Toronto won more faceoffs and registered more shots but Boston’s offensive efficiency proved to be the deciding factor.
Top Goal Scorer: David Pastrnak — 38 goals (Patrice Bergeron is second with 18 goals)
Top Point Getter: David Pastrnak — 72 points (Brad Marchand is second with 46 points)
Top Goaltender: Linus Ullmark — 26-4-1 record, 1.90 goals against on average (GAA), .937 save percentage
(All stats as of Feb. 7)
Bruins upcoming schedule for the week of February 9:
- Saturday, February 11 vs. Washington Capitals
- Tuesday, February 14 @ Dallas Stars
Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games
Injury Update: Jake DeBrusk (lower body) is expected to return by Feb. 11 following a month absence.
Saturday, February 11 vs. Washington Capitals
- The Washington Capitals have a 27-20-6 record, are in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and are seventh overall in the Eastern Conference with 60 points and a +14 goal differential.
- These two teams last met early in the season on Oct. 22 when Boston won comfortably, 5-2. Boston is 7-3 across the last ten regular season meetings and has eclipsed five goals five times during that span.
- Washington has lost some close games recently and is 4-6 across its last ten games as a result. Goaltending can be shoddy at times whether it’s Darcy Kuemper (15-14-4, 2.62 GAA) or Charlie Lindgren (12-6-2, 2.67 GAA) so as long as Boston is efficient on offense, the game should be under control. Both goaltenders rank in the top 15 in terms of goals allowed but neither one has provided enough consistency to properly trust.
- The main playmaker on the Capitals unsurprisingly is Alexander Ovechkin, who has the sixth-most goals in the league (32) and third-most total shots (224). He’ll be getting the puck on the net as often as possible so Boston will need to deploy a well-rested goaltender to contain him.
- Washington deploys a top penalty kill unit, which ranks eighth in the league (81.4%) but has noticeably struggled on the power play compared to recent years (20.5%). Boston deploys the top penalty kill unit and a top 5 power play unit so if penalties are called early and often, the Bruins will be favored. The Capitals tend to commit very few penalties (403 penalty minutes), however, so the limited opportunities will need to be utilized if Boston wants to be in control.
Tuesday, February 14 @ Dallas Stars
- The Dallas Stars have a 29-13-10 record, are in first place in the Central Division and are first overall in the Western Conference with 68 points and a +41 goal differential.
- These two teams last met in late October when Boston won 3-1 thanks to 30 saves and a .968 save percentage from Ullmark. Boston is 7-3 in its last ten games versus Dallas but all have been well-contested and within one or two goals, so the win likely won’t come easy this time around.
- Dallas’ offensive attack features Jason Robertson, who ranks fifth in goals (33) and is tied for sixth in total points (67). There’s no denying he’s posted a special season thus far and will look to kickstart his team in the right direction against Boston. The Bruins tend to limit the opposing playmakers well but amid the recent losing spell, the emphasis will be stronger.
- Dallas matches up very well with Boston in terms of penalties. Both squads deploy top units on both the power play and penalty kill so the chances of freebies and mistakes are very slim. While Boston started strong on the power play at the beginning of the season, it’s taken a hit since then and it’s dropped down to 25.1% while Dallas’ unit is successful 25.0% of the time.
- Jake Oettinger is posting a league-leading 2.25 GAA with a 22-7-7 record thus far. He has faced the eighth-most shots (1,116) but is tied for the fourth-most wins (22). Combine Oettinger’s strong stats with Dallas’ smart playstyle and it won’t be easy to get the puck in the net for Boston unless it makes the most of its limited opportunities.
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