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Boston Bruins DraftKings NHL Fantasy Hockey Preview: January 4 to January 10

Hunter Skoczylas previews the Bruins’ upcoming fantasy hockey matchups.

Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Despite going through quite the slump in the month of December, the Boston Bruins finished strong — topping the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings last week. Unsurprisingly, Boston still sits atop the Atlantic Division with a 22-7-6 record, 50 points and a +23 goal differential. Boston’s .714 point percentage and 50 points rank behind only the New York Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins started their week with a 4-1 win over the Sabres on the road thanks to two power play goals by Charlie Coyle (2G) and a strong game in net from Jeremy Swayman (.962 save percentage), who stopped 25-of-26 shots en route to his 10th win of the season. The Bruins were out-shot, 26 to 25, but converted three of four power play opportunities.

Three days later, Boston hosted New Jersey and won 5-2 in an impressive all-around team effort. Despite falling to an early 2-0 lead just one minute into the second period, the Bruins rallied together to score four second-period goals and once again made the most of the opportunities, scoring on both power plays. Both David Pastrnak (2G, 1A) and Kevin Shattenkirk (2G) netted two goals each.

Momentum was in Boston’s favor this week as it went on the road just one day after beating New Jersey to beat Detroit, 5-3, evening the season series at 2-2. Unsurprisingly, the Bruins were out-shot, 30 to 24 but two early back-to-back goals by Trent Frederic (2G, 1A) jumpstarted the offensive attack and they never looked back. The Bruins played a sloppy game where they picked up eight penalties but Swayman got the job done in net, stopping 27-of-30 shots.

Boston will look to finish this impressive week strong with a road game against Columbus on Tuesday, Jan. 2. On tap are the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes.

Top Goal-Scorers: David Pastrnak (22), Brad Marchand (13), Charlie Coyle (13), Pavel Zacha (9)

Top Point-Getters: David Pastrnak (50), Brad Marchand (33), Charlie Coyle (26), Charlie McAvoy (23)

Top Goaltenders: Linus Ullmark (11-5-2 record, 2.82 GAA), Jeremy Swayman (11-2-4 record, 2.22 GAA)

(All stats as of Tuesday, Jan. 2)

Bruins upcoming schedule:

  • Thursday, January 4 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Saturday, January 6 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Monday, January 8 at Colorado Avalanche
  • Tuesday, January 9 at Arizona Coyotes

Bruins DraftKings Fantasy Preview for Upcoming Games

Thursday, January 4 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins have an 18-13-4 record, are in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division and 11th overall in the Eastern Conference with 40 points and a +14 goal differential.
  • Boston has won the last three regular season meetings against Pittsburgh and six of the last 10. The Penguins, however, have won their last three games and seven of the last 10 games.
  • Whether it’s Jake Guentzel (16G, 24A), Sidney Crosby (20G, 16A) or Evgeni Malkin (14G, 17A) leading the way, Pittsburgh’s offensive attack can be deadly at any point. The offense ranks fifth in true goal percentage (55.47%), eighth in expected goal percentage (52.36%), seventh in expected goal differential (7.51) and 10th in high-danger chances (81).
  • While things on offense may look great on paper, the defense deserves some flowers, as well. Led by Erik Karlsson (6G, 17A) and Kris Letang (3G, 20A) have provided ample support from the top four thus far while Tristan Jarry (2.47, .916 save percentage) has been quite stellar in net, allowing just 2.47 goals per game. Despite allowing the sixth-fewest goals per game (2.63), Jarry sports just an 11-11-2 record through 24 games.
  • One thing worth noting is that Bryan Rust (10G, 10A) has returned to practice after a brief stint on injured reserve and could be ready to suit up for this contest, further bolstering an already impressive offensive attack. Another area to mention is Pittsburgh’s awful power play unit that is successful just 13.4% of the time, good for the sixth-worst percentage in the league. Considering how consistent the Penguins can be offensively, the power play struggles don’t exactly correlate.

Saturday, January 6 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning have an 18-15-5 record, are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and eighth overall in the Eastern Conference with 41 points and a -6 goal differential.
  • Boston has won six of the last 10 meetings against Tampa Bay — averaging 3.0 goals and allowing 2.4 goals per game in that span. On top of that, Boston averaged 3.7 penalties per game, something it cannot afford against Tampa Bay’s third-best power play unit this season (28.9%). The Bolts have won four of their last six games, averaging 3.2 goals per game.
  • Everyone knows how deadly the Bolts’ offensive attack can be when they’re consistently deploying top skaters like Nikita Kucherov (26G, 35A), Steven Stamkos (15G, 22A) and Brayden Point (17G, 22A). And it’s even less surprising that the Bolts have scored the fifth-most goals (124) and rank 13th in goals per game (3.26). Four skaters are currently producing at least one point per game and 20-of-21 possible skaters have recorded a point.
  • Enough talk about Tampa Bay’s strong offensive attack and more about its major defensive struggles this season. Despite the consistent offensive production, the Bolts are letting up the seventh-most goals per game (3.45) and 14th-most shots per game (30.8). On top of already allowing a ton of consistent shots on net, the Bolts rank 13th in high-danger chances (80). Andrei Vasilevskiy (2.94 GAA, .900 save percentage) is back in the mix after missing some time with injury but he hasn’t fixed Tampa Bay’s defensive woes by any means. Jonas Johansson (3.45 GAA, .891 save percentage) isn’t much better either, suggesting this area is going to be the Bolts’ kryptonite all season.

Monday, January 8 at Colorado Avalanche

  • The Colorado Avalanche have a 23-11-3 record, are in first place in the Central Division and are tied for first overall in the Western Conference with 49 points and a +23 goal differential.
  • The fact that Boston has to go from Pittsburgh to Tampa Bay to Colorado within a four-day span will possibly be the biggest test for this squad thus far. The Bruins are just 4-5-1 against the Avalanche in the last 10 regular season meetings but have won each of the last three meetings by four or more goals. Colorado has won seven of its last 10 games.
  • I think we all know the Avalanche have always been one of the most complete squads in the league and it’s shown thus far. Starting with the offense, Nathan MacKinnon (19G, 35A) leads the league in assists and ranks second in points while both Mikko Rantanen (19G, 26A) and Valeri Nichushkin (17G, 19A) have capitalized on that playmaking ability. Colorado has scored the second-most goals (133), ranks ninth in true goal percentage (52.94%), ninth in expected goal percentage (52.36%) and eighth in high-danger chances (82). On top of that, the Avalanche deploy the eighth-best power play unit (23.9).
  • While Colorado dominates offensively, the defense is the one area worth exploiting. Led by Cale Makar (8G, 33A) and Devon Toews (5G, 16A), the Avalanche deploy the seventh-best penalty kill unit (83.6%) but still give up seventh-most high-danger chances (85). Alexandar Georgiev (2.86, .900 save percentage) has been solid between the pipes, too, sporting a 19-8-2 record and allowing just under three goals per game. Colorado limits opponents’ shot totals but the statistics suggest that when they fail to do that, the quality of those chances is very high and goes in more often than not.

Tuesday, January 9 at Arizona Coyotes

  • The Arizona Coyotes have a 19-14-2 record, are in fifth place in the Central Division and eighth overall in the Western Conference with 40 points and a +11 goal differential.
  • The Bruins have won 19 of the last 20 regular season meetings against the Coyotes, dating back to 2014. Arizona has won six of its last seven games, however, so Boston likely won’t have it as easy as previous meetings.
  • The Coyotes have been surprisingly competitive and exciting to watch this season thanks to strong offensive play from both Clayton Keller (13G, 18A) and Matias Maccelli (6G, 21A). But the team’s success has also stemmed from its production from the other pairings, particularly Nick Schmaltz (10G, 13A), Michael Carcone (14G, 5A) and Lawson Crouse (16G, 7A). The Coyotes rank eighth in true goal percentage (53.33%) but 23rd in expected goal percentage (48.71%). On top of that, they’ve also totaled just the 22nd-most high-danger chances (69), suggesting the quality of their chances could certainly be better.
  • Nonetheless, if the offense can produce, the defense and goaltending have been good enough to steal games. Connor Ingram (.919 save percentage) has been a revelation for Arizona so far this season because he’s allowing just 2.49 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) and the 12th-most shots per game (31.0).

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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.