A hurricane is rolling through Boston tonight, as the Bruins will play their 24th game of the year against the Carolina Hurricanes. Tonight’s game will be a match between two of the leagues most average teams, as both come into tonight just outside of the playoff structure. Carolina sits at 9-9-4, while Boston sits at 12-10-1. The Canes have gotten exactly half of their possible 44 points this season, and sit at 22 points overall. Boston comes in just past 50% accumulating 25 of a possible 46.
Side note: Boston’s OTL against Philadelphia made them the last team in the NHL to experience an overtime loss this season. The Bruins were the last remaining team with zero to that point.
1. Chara Skating, But Remains Absent –
Chara will miss tonight’s game, but has returned to the ice. He skated with the team this morning and he is expected to return shortly. I like the move to keep him out tonight, because not only can you not afford to rush him back into action, but Carolina isn’t exactly a team where you NEED Chara. It’s the safe and smart play.
2. Playoff Picture –
I know it’s only December, but if people can play Christmas music right after Halloween, then dammit I can talk about the playoffs before the New Year. Boston is currently tied with New Jersey for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Currently, the spot goes to New Jersey by virtue of them playing in fewer games. If it were the end of the season, though, Boston would be in based on Regulation and Overtime Losses, as well as their record against the Devils (1-0-0). Boston hasn’t played incredible hockey to date, but they are definitely in the picture. Also, Tampa Bay is only 2 points up, with Boston having a game in hand over them. A win tonight, with a Tampa Bay loss, moves Boston into 3rd in the Atlantic.
3. Pasta’s Streak Broken –
All good things must come to an end, and on Tuesday, Pastrnak’s goal streak did just that. The 20 year old was not able to match his season-high of 5 straight games with a goal, as he saw his streak die at 3 games this go around. The Flyers ruin everything for us, I swear.
Tonight’s game is most likely going to be boring, and playing anywhere close to decent will probably be good enough to beat Carolina, but I’ll do these anyway.
3 KEYS –
1. Push The Puck –
Take advantage of a lackluster opponent by pushing the puck and keeping play in their end. Carolina isn’t a stout defensive team, so if you get the puck in the zone, you’re likely to get a good scoring chance.
2. Keep Shooting The Puck –
I’m liking these 40+ shot games for us. They don’t always equate to goals, but the more you take, the more chances you have to score. In case you’ve never watched hockey before, the more goals, the better. Keep getting shots, and start burying them more.
3. Keep The Minutes Down –
We aren’t in a crazy part of the schedule, but the games have been coming at a fast pace this season. There’s barely been a chance to rest, so don’t have the top guys playing big minutes against lower-teams. Carolina is not a team that requires us to play Bergeron for 18+ minutes. It’s just that simple. Don’t over work the team’s stars.
MY LINE-UP (I’m taking a big swing at the lines, because we need production)
Prediction: CAR 0-4 BOS