3 Keys: Calgary Flames @ Boston Bruins

How Boston can ensure The Flames don’t burn down TD Garden


The 9-12-1 Calgary Flames are visiting Boston tonight, looking to capitalize on a vulnerable Bruins’ team that is certainly lacking confidence after last night’s loss. Former Bruin Chad Johnson is expected in net tonight for Calgary, while the Bruins’ goalie situation is unknown, and will likely remain that way until gametime. Seeing as Rask had a less than impressive start last night, there’s a good chance Anton Khudobin will get the start. However, with Zdeno Chara out, Boston will likely want their starter in to give some reliability in net. As I said, it’s unknown. Tune in at 7:30 to find out!


Regardless of the goalie, the Bruins are going to need the win tonight, and if they’re going to do that, they’ll have to do these three things:


1. Take Advantage of a Beaten Up Opponent –

There have been very few games where Boston is playing against a team with as many or more injuries as they have, but tonight is one of the rare occasions. Without Gaudreau already, its possible Calgary could be without Kris Versteeg as well. This would mean 4 players, 2 of them established stars, would sit tonight  for the Flames, whereas Boston would be missing only Zdeno Chara, Noel Acciari and Frank Vatrano who has missed the entire season to date. Boston needs to take advantage of the lack of firepower (pun absolutely intended) on the Flames’ offense, and respond by pushing the puck, and giving no room to the beat-up Calgary team.


Man, I love David Pastrnak! The kid does great things, and helps the team. Of course, I’d never put him ahead of a guy like Bergeron (have you noticed he’s been quiet lately?), but he’s on a tear right now, and you need to put the puck where it’s got a shot at going in. Right now, your best chance at a goal, is through David Pastrnak.

3. Play Smart Defense – 

We do NOT need a repeat of the mistakes last night. Our defense has to play smart, disciplined hockey. They need patience, and to play with instinct. They’ve been overthinking things lately, and in hockey, there’s no time to think. Play as if Zdeno was in the lineup still, and just be smart. Smart hockey, is winning hockey, and winning hockey, is fun to watch.


Projected line-ups:







Morrow-K Miller









Liles-K Miller






Chara’s First-Period Injury Costs Bruins, Blues Pick Up Victory

Chara leaves ice early as Blues fall 4-2 ahead of Thanksgiving

In the first period, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara went down with a lower-body injury, and did not return to action. This left Boston with just 5 defenseman, and without their “top” guy. The younger guys were forced to step it up on the spot, and ultimately were unable to climb the 6’9″ mountain in front of them. St. Louis would take advantage, scoring 3 goals in the second, and an empty-netter in the third to clinch a 4-2 victory.


The first period started out pretty good for Boston, as David Backes, former St. Louis star,

Backes celebrates with Moore following opening goal (courtesy: Getty Images)

scored against his former team on the power play to give Boston a lead. The goal was only Backes’ 4th of the year, but it had to be a very satisfying goal to have scored. David Krejci factored in as the secondary assist, his 10th of the year. That mark him just one assist behind Brad Marchand for the team lead in assists. Torey Krug picked up his 5th assist on the Backes goal.

In the second, playing without Big Z, Boston struggled defensively. 3 goals were scored by St. Louis in a span of 13 minutes. After the first St Louis goal, which was unsuccessfully challenged, Dominic Moore scored a shorthanded goal to give Boston a second chance at playing with a lead. Both Boston goals were scored on special teams, which isn’t all that interesting, but what is interesting is the fact that one came on a power play, and the other was shorthanded. Boston, though, was unsuccessful in defending the lead, and left the second trailing 3-2. After an empty net goal in the 3rd, Boston left the Garden in defeat, dropping to 11-8-0.


3 UPS:


Boston put 41 shots to the net of St. Louis last night. They did all they could to try and get the W from the offensive zone, but it just wasn’t enough. Jake Allen was an absolute stud in front of the Blues’ net, allowing only 2 of the 41 in. This isn’t the first time Boston has taken 40+ shots on net, as it happened against Colorado in a 2-0 win last week. Coincidentally, both games have seen Boston score only 2 goals.

2. Backes Scored – 

Backes scores against his old team (Courtesy: Getty Images)

It’s been a while since David Backes has scored. Well, it feels like it anyway. It was nice to see the major off-season pickup score in his first game against his former team. Perhaps when these two teams meet again, this time in front of a St. Louis crowd, Backes’ emotions will be even further escalated, and he’ll elevate his game to a new level. Either way, seeing him score last night was a welcomed sight.

3. Without Chara, They Still Looked Okay –

Look, I know playing without Chara hurt the team in the second, but they had a very solid third period. The only goal St. Louis scored was an empty netter, and they didn’t really have too many chances. Give this team a few days to adjust, and we may see a defensive unit that doesn’t need to rely on Chara. I’m cautiously optimistic about this injury.



1. Chara Hurt, Already Declared Out Thursday –

I know I just came from saying this injury isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not ideal. Losing your “number one” isn’t ever a good situation. This injury may have long-term benefits, but in the short run, we may still be in danger. The fact that he was already declared inactive for tomorrow night, tells us that this is no light injury either. We may not see Chara for one to two weeks. Nothing has been said to lead us to believe that this injury is a 4-6 week or beyond, and right now, it appears as though he will be day-to-day for some time.

2. Torey Krug –

Despite factoring in on the Backes goal, Krug had a very poor game. This is something we haven’t really seen from him this season. Despite getting a lot of flack from fans on social media, Krug’s play has been quite solid. He’s much different than the guy we saw a few seasons ago, now playing a more defense-oriented game, rather than the guy pushing the puck. Plus, he’s paired with Adam McQuaid every game, what do you want from him?

3. 3 Goal Second Period –

Yeah, Chara was hurt and the team wasn’t ready for it, but that’s not an excuse for giving up 3 even-strength goals in a period. I hate second periods, man.


3 Takeaways:

  1. David Pastrnak and Kevan Miller are both expected back in action on Thanksgiving
  2. Backes scored in front of his old team, totally disproving my pre-game report. Thanks.
  3. Once again, the Bruins-Blues game was one of the best ones so far. These teams always put on a magical performance against each other



1. Jake Allen (G-STL)

2. Colton Parayko (D-STL)

3. David Backes (RW-BOS)


What did you think of the game? Are you worried about Chara’s injury? What do you think of BOSTON playing in CANADA on AMERICAN THANKSGIVING? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to share this post with friends! B’s lose 4-2!

Keys to the Game: St. Louis Blues @ Boston Bruins

The winged-quarter notes fly into Boston tonight, in the first of two encounters this year between the Bruins and the Blues. The last few years, this game, when the Blues come to the Garden (not so much the other way around), has been in my top 5. Whether low-scoring or high, the games are full of action and physicality, and I expect tonight to be no different. I’m a bit short on time so how about we jump right into tonight’s 3 keys to the game? Ready? Let’s go.


Quick notes:

David Pastrnak (day-to-day: undisclosed) will miss game number 3 in a row. He will be missed.

David Backes is playing in his first game against his former team, tonight. Look for him to play with emotion.


3 Keys:

1. Find an Offensive Spark –

They’ve done a pretty good job the last few games, them being the Bruins, of scoring enough goals to look better than they actually are. Doing this without Pastrnak was tough against Minnesota, but the team found their stride against Winnipeg, en rout to a 4-1 win (I’m so sick of being within one goal of getting it right). Tonight, against a team that is no slouch, Boston needs to keep hitting what they found Saturday and put the puck in the net.

2. Keep Backes’ Minutes Down – 

He can play, for sure, but with this being against his former team, and a team he stayed with for a very long time, no less, he’s going to be a bit emotional. When you play with your  heart and not your head, you make mistakes. Now, I’m probably wrong and he’ll end up playing 19 minutes and score a hatty, but I think keeping his usage to a minimum could benefit Boston in the long run of this game.


St. Louis is by no means a stellar team, offensively, but that doesn’t mean they can’t score. They do have more total goals than Boston, albeit playing one extra game, but they aren’t a great team. Both of them are at the bottom half of the leaderboard. This will likely be low-scoring, meaning Boston’s defense needs to step up and have another Winnipeg-like performance. A good defensive unit equals less work the offense has to do.


Prediction: STL 1-3 BOS


That’s my take on the game, and now I want to hear yours. Let me know your thought’s ahead of tonight’s game in the comments. Don’t forget to share with your friends to get their take as well. GO B’S


TRIVIA: When did David Backes play his first game for the Blues?

Bruins Return From 3-Days Off To Face Wild

8:00 on NESN

For the first time in 3 days, Bruins’ hockey is finally returning, and all is right with the world again. Boston improved to 10-6-0 on Sunday in Colorado with a 2-0 win over the Av’s. In there first game since then, Boston hits the ice in  Minnesota to take on the Wild, who absolutely annihilated the B’s on home ice last month. Back when Rask was hurt, the Wild rolled into TD Garden and scored 5 goals in a shutout victory. Boston is now a much better team defensively, and Rask is healthy, so we’ll see if this game is any different.


Pastrnak Out:

David Pastrnak has missed the last few days of practice, and has been ruled out for tonight’s game. It is not really known the extent of his injury, but the league’s second-best goal scorer is going to be watching from the press box tonight. Riley Nash is slated to ride shotgun on the Marchand-Bergeron line, in Pastrnak’s place. Nash only has one goal but has shown, when he isn’t playing with Hayes, that he is top-6 potential.

Minnesota Struggling:

Not from a record standpoint, but as a team, they are struggling. The offense has scored 2+ goals in only 2 of their last 6 games, and have been shutout twice in that span. With Rask playing the way he is, it should keep Minnesota’s low-scoring streak alive. Without, Pastrnak, it is better for the Bruins to face a low-powered offense where they will not need to light up the scoreboard, and just need to play a smart game.

3 Days of Rest:

Boston has not played in 3 whole days (4 by the time the puck drops). Hopefully, this means we will see a rejuvenated and energetic team in the first period. They had been playing at an incredibly high rate, and looked tired in the Arizona-Colorado back-to-back. The extra days of practice must have been a good thing too. It should have allowed Boston to work on some weak areas of their game (Power Play, Defense, etc.). But, knowing the past, we will probably have a rusty start to this game, and end up behind after the first.


3 Keys:


1. Fast Start – 

Boston, as mentioned, is coming off a 3 day break. Minnesota, however, is playing their 5th game in 8 days, and their 4th in 6. Boston needs to exploit this by pushing the pace early, and tiring out the Minnesota defense.

2. 3rd Line Needs to Step Up – 

Without Pastrnak, the Bruins need to find production from their lower lines. Specifically the 3rd. The 3rd line, no matter the combination, has been the least productive group this season. If they’re going to win tonight, they’re going to need to step up.

3. Forget About Being Shutout –

The Bruins need to put the 5-0 shutout last month out of their minds tonight. There were many circumstances beyond the Bruins control that contributed to the loss. Tonight, only Pastrnak’s injury stands in the way. Rask is healthy, the defense is good, and we aren’t playing at home. We can win.




























Prediction: BOS 3-1 MIN

With the struggling Minnesota offense, and Rask playing like he is, it’s almost guaranteed to be low-scoring.


What do you think of tonight’s game? Can Boston win or am I blindly optimistic? Let me know in the comments and share with others to get their opinions.


Trivia: Who won the 2001 Art Ross Trophy?


Boston Bruins @ Arizona Coyotes

The Boston Bruins fly out west to start a back-to-back against, first, the Arizona Coyotes, before taking on the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow. The Bruins come into tonight’s game with a 5-2 win in their previous game against Columbus. In the recent past, Boston has had the upper-hand against the Coyotes. Can they keep the momentum up? Let’s find out.

Things To Watch:

Khudobin Travels –

Anton Khudobin, who has missed recent weeks due to injury, is traveling with the team to Arizona. Considering the back-to-back scenario, it is likely that a backup will get the call in one of the 2 games.  It’s now a question of which backup, and which game, the B’s go with.

Playing on the Road – 

The last 2 years, the Bruins have been impressive on the road. They have had more success away from the Garden, than when playing in it. Coming off a win at home, and now heading into their “preferred” terrain, watch for Boston to be even better than they were against the Blue Jackets.

Kuraly Recalled – 

Sean Kuraly was recalled from Providence on an emergency basis. This is likely in response to Noel Acciari’s injury. It will be interesting to watch how Kuraly is used, and whether he will replace Hayes in the line up.

3 Keys:

1. Don’t Look Too Much At The Standings –

It’s important that the Bruins don’t overlook Arizona. Just because they are low in the standings does not mean they cannot defeat Boston. If the Bruins walk in expecting an easy game, it’s not going to happen. Like every other game in the National Hockey League, this is a game in which the winner is going to have to fight for the 2 points.

2. Get Shots On Net – 

All shots that hit the net, are good shots. With a team that struggles offensively and defensively, Boston could very well dominate the time of possession aspect of the game. That won’t mean anything if the Bruins don’t shoot the puck. Just getting the puck towards the net against this Arizona (I still want to call them Phoenix) defense can cause problems for the Coyotes.


Chara had a ridiculous turnover that led to a goal, and then Colin Miller scored on the wrong goal. These are mistakes that can really turn a game on its head. Against Arizona, mistakes are likely the only way you’re going to give up goals, so play smart hockey. Don’t turn the puck over, don’t take penalties, and DO NOT SCORE ON YOURSELF!!!

Likely Line-up (Nothing confirmed)










My Lineup (Always Confirmed)









Prediction: BOS 4-0 ARZ

It’s not an easy win, but it is one they can win, and by a lot, if they play it right.

What do you think? Who is your pick to win? What are your 3 keys to the game? Let me know in the comments and please SHARE THIS POST WITH YOUR BRUINS FRIENDS! GO B’S!!