Rask Earns Shutout #33 As Boston Defeat Avalanche 2-0

If I’m Semyon Varlamov today, I am one upset human being. This guy did everything a team can ask of its goalie, stopping 44/45 shots faced, and the team couldn’t help him out. It’s not like Boston was getting a lot of crummy, save them in your sleep kind of shots either. These were 45 good quality looks, with at least a dozen that easily could have been goals against other goalies. But Varlamov was strong last night. I almost feel bad that we won. Could you imagine how deflating that must feel? Your team plays so poorly on defense that you are faced with 45 shots, you save 44 of them, and the 18 skaters on your side can’t put the puck in net. That’s horrible. Spoiler Alert: Varlamov is my 1st star of the night.

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Courtesy: nhl.com

Regardless of how you feel about Varlamov’s performance, the Bruins walked out of the Pepsi Center last night victorious by a score of 2-0. As you can probably infer from context, the game was not as close as its score. Boston dominated much of the play, but could only get the puck past the Colorado net-minder once. During a rush in the first period, David Krejci found the puck on his stick and fired one just inside the post to put Boston up 1-0. Krejci’s second goal of the season would serve as the lone goal for 50:02 of the game. It would also serve as the only goal given up by either goalie in the game. It could very easily have been a 6-0 game, as Brad Marchand, David Patrnak, Riley Nash, and others all found themselves looking to the sky, as none of their golden opportunities could find their way through the brick wall guarding Colorado’s net. It wasn’t until Dominic Moore put a 95 foot shot into an empty net, giving Boston a 2-0 cushion with 28 seconds left, that any Bruins could cash in on their chances. Colorado could generate no momentum in the game, but in the last minute, before the Moore goal, they did get a few good shots on Rask. Rask only was bothered by Avalanche shooters 20 times, and had no problem turning all their shots aside. He improved to 10-1-0 on the year, earning his 33rd career shutout in the process. The Bruins now sit at 10-6-0 on the year, and rank 2nd in the Atlantic division.

I’m not good with segues, so here are the 3 good things Boston did last night, and the 3 things that they can work on.

3 Ups:

1. Great Team Defense – 

Anytime you get through a game without giving up a goal, it’s practically a given that the defense played exceptionally well. This hasn’t necessarily been the case for Boston in the 3usa_today_9676069-0 shutouts this season. Most of the work was done by Tuukka Rask, and the defense was just,
there. But last night, the D made good reads on the puck, got back to defend rushes, and blocked shots when needed to ensure Rask had to do very little, and Boston could still get the win. Of course, Colorado native Brandon Carlo once again stood out as a smart defensive rookie, making great decisions on defense. He even came close to scoring at one point, but failed.

2. 2nd Period – 

The period that cost Boston many of their 6 losses this season, was far from terrible last night. Despite not scoring a goal, it may have been their most dominant period of the season so far. The Bruins out-shot Colorado 23-7 in the period, and spent most of the 20 minutes setting up camp in the Ave’s zone. It was the only period that the Bruins didn’t score, but it was not for a lack of trying.

3. Finding Ways To Win – 

This doesn’t pertain to this game in particular, but over the last 9 games, Boston has picked up 7 wins. They’ve improved from a lackluster start, and now sit in a good spot in their division, only behind the white-hot Habs. Boston’s once again a good road team, but this is a team that seems like they can get it done at home too. This could be beneficial later, as 6 of the last 7 games of the year will be played on Garden ice. But last night proved even further, that this team has a knack for winning on the road.

 

3 Downs:

1. Too Much Chara –

jhavtta
Courtesy: daysofyorr.com

Zdeno Chara was on the ice for 24:03 against Colorado. That’s almost 4 minutes more than Carlo, the second most used player last night. Boston is playing with fire leaving Chara on the ice that long, as in his old age, Big Z could very well be injury prone. While he isn’t what he used to be, Boston certainly doesn’t want him to be injured, for some reason. They need to cut down his time, regardless of how long it is between games.

 

 

2. Not Getting The Puck In The Net –

This has more to do with Varlamov being insane than Boston actually struggling, but 2 goals against this Colorado team is not a good sign. Especially coming off only 2 goals against Arizona (I’ll always call them Phoenix before saying Arizona). These were 2 teams where Boston could have scored 3 or 4, but could only muster 2 goals in both. As mentioned, Boston had one of those goals come on an empty-net chance from Moore, meaning we only really scored 1 last night. That needs to improve before we start playing stronger offenses.

3. Losing The Hitting Game –

The Big Bad Bruins have been pushed around this season. They are hardly winning any physical battles with opponents, and last night was no exception. Boston was out-hit 19-12 by Colorado, and did not look strong. Luckily, winning in the hit department doesn’t translate directly to the win department. But I’d rather be the hitter than the hittee as Jack Edwards would say.

 

3 Takeaways:

1. Leading the Bruins forwards in ice time last night was Brad Marchand, with 4 more seconds than Patrice Bergeron. Both came in at the 19 minute mark, meaning they played almost a third of the game.

2. 4th-line center Dominic Moore scored his 4th goal of the year last night, moving him into sole possession of 3rd on the team. Not often does a fourth-liner put up top 6 numbers, but that just shows the surprising depth of this team.

3. Rask picked up his 10th win and 3rd shutout, moving him into a tie for the lead in both categories.

 

3 Stars:

1. Semyon Varlamov (G-COL)

2. Tuukka Rask (G-BOS)

3. David Krejci (C-BOS)

 

Question To See If You’re Reading: (Comment below or on social media with the answer)

How many minutes into the 3rd period was it before Dominic Moore scored his empty net goal?

 

How’d you like the game? Were you surprised to see Boston win, or did you expect it? Were you as impressed with Varlamov as I was? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share this with your friends to get their opinions!

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Boston Bruins @ Colorado Avalanche: 3 KEYS 

Tonight, the Bruins head to the mountains to take on the Colorado Avalanche. Fresh off a win last night, the Bruins now sit at 9-6-0 on the season, and look to pick up win number 10. If they’re going to do that, the Bruins need to listen to me, and follow these 3 keys:

1. Conserve Your Energy – 

The between puck drop last night, and puck drop tonight: 23 hours. It’s less than a full day since the start of the last game, and the Bruins’ 18 skaters need to be aware of that. Between the time zone change and the quick turnaround, the Bruins need to conserve their energy. Don’t use it all up in the first period, because you’re going to need it in the 3rd.

2. Don’t Make the Goalie Work Hard –

Claude Julien doesn’t seem to understand that playing a goalie a bunch of times in a row, is not smart. Tuukka Rask is expected in goal (per Julien) again tonight after stopping 33/34 last night. I would have rather ed him have more rest, and give the nod to McIntyre or Khudobin, but I don’t make the call. Regardless, the BRUINS need to keep the puck out of their own zone, and don’t give Rask too much to do tonight. Defense wins games (if they have a good offense, but you get the point). 
3. Use Chara As Little As Possible – 

When the season started, I thought Chara looked very good. He was moving better than he had in years, was taking the body again, and could still load up a bullet from the point. But, I’m having a change of heart. I don’t like the way he is playing. Bad turnovers. Poor decisions. Doesn’t hit. Outside of his incredible 4 on 3 penalty kill in overtime against Tampa, Chara has been less than impressive. The man called upon to lead the team defensively, is hardly playing like a top 4 defenseman, nevermind the top dog. Give him a break, and don’t use him for more than 17 minutes tonight.
Projected lineup :

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak 

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik

Kuraly-Moore-Hayes
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid 

Liles-Morrow
Rask

McIntyre 
MY LINE-UP :

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak 

Spooner-Krejci-Backes 

Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik 

Schaller-Moore-Kuraly
Krug-Carlo 

Chara-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles
McIntyre 

Rask

Prediction: BOS 3-1 COL

These games are always low scoring, and tonight should be no different. With Rask in net, it wouldn’t be a surprise if only 1 goal was allowed again. 

What are you looking for tonight? What would your lines look like if you were in charge? Who do you think will win? Let me know in the comments and share this post with your friends to see what they think. GO B’S!

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.

3. DON’T PLAY STUPID DEFENSE –

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)

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Hayes

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Liles-Miller

Rask

McIntyre

My Lineup (Always Confirmed)

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Kuraly
Chara-Carlo

Krug-Liles

Morrow-McQuaid

Khudobin

Rask

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!!

Tuukka Rask — Do The Numbers Tell The Whole Story?

Why Rask’s numbers are a bit misleading

As I have documented on multiple occasions, Tuukka Rask is having an incredible start to the 2016-17 season. He holds a record of 8-1-0, a 1.76 GAA, and a .938 SV%. All of these numbers put Rask on pace to have a career year. But, do the numbers tell the whole story? Statistics never lie, but they can leave out key parts of the story. So is Tuukka really as good as the stats suggest? Let’s take a look.

 

The Other Side of the Stats sheet (criticisms):

620942632

Strength of Opponents:

The first thing I want to take a look at is the strength of the opponents Rask has won against this season. As documented, Rask has 8 wins so far, and a lot of them have been dominated by Rask’s ability to stop the puck. Of those 8 wins, against 7 different opponents, how many were against quality teams? Rask has won against Columbus, Winnipeg, New Jersey, Detroit, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Buffalo. Of those seven teams, only 2 Tampa Bay and Detroit rank above Boston in the early season standings. Teams like Florida and Buffalo rank outside of 20th place so far. Of the 2 wins against better teams, one came in an incredible showdown against Detroit where Boston won 1-0, and the other was a 4-3 shootout win against Tampa. The only other game against a formidable opponent, was a devastating 5-2 loss against the New York Rangers. While a lot of that game was mistakes by the team as a whole, Rask is still accountable for not saving the puck. In his six games against lower ranked opponents, Rask holds a GAA of 1.51. Against teams ranked higher than Boston, Rask has a 2.67 GAA. That’s over a goal per game more. And it kind of makes you wonder…

bruins_rangers_grabner_110516
Courtesy: CSNNE.com

Is He Choosing His Opponents?:

Early in the season, Tuukka Rask was dealing with some kind of lower-body injury that kept him out-of-action for multiple games. During his absence, the Bruins played against Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota, and New York. While he was said to be injured, all that was ever told was that he was battling soreness. What goalie in the NHL doesn’t fight soreness every game? It’s practically in the job description, but Rask was held out. Do I think he was hurt? Yeah, I do. Do I think he was injured? No, and yes, there is a difference. Then while healthy, the Bruins took part in a back-to-back, first playing Buffalo and then Montreal. The thought of many close to the team, and anybody with half a brain, expected rookie Zane McIntyre be called on to play the less challenging Buffalo Sabres, and Montreal would be taken care of by Tuukka Rask. Instead, the opposite happened, with Rask taking the net in the Buffalo game and Zane playing the hated Habs. When you look back at the schedule, when Rask missed 3 straight, it was Montreal that was the first game of his hiatus. Knowing how good Montreal was, did Rask feign injury, and ask for the game off against Montreal both times? If so, is that a red flag that he is scared to play good teams? Is he fighting for his stats, or for the team?

 

He’s Just That Good (defending Rask):

Tuukka Rask, Ryan Callahan
Courtesy: John Snyder

2 Shutouts:

Rask has 2 shutouts on the season so far. In 3 other games, he’s only given up one goal. Those are impressive numbers, regardless of who they are against. If you are giving up a goal or less in most of your games, you are giving your team a chance to win. He has only given up 3 or more in 3 games, giving up 2 goals in the other game. Those are numbers any team would love to have from their goalie. A low-scoring opponent, is the ideal opponent.

620941080.jpg

Only One Real Hiccup:

Rask really does only have one bad game on his 2016-17 resume. He only has one loss, and it was his only bad game. He’s played a great season. In his games when healthy, he has tracked the puck, moved quickly, and given shooters nothing to shoot at. The stats are not lying to us, he’s just that good.

 

Verdict: No, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

There’s no denying he has had an incredible start, but until he starts putting up consistently good numbers against good opponents, Rask’s stats will not be a reflection of his talent. I know he is good, but these numbers, considering who they came against, paint him as being better than he is.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Is Rask really the 4th best in the league, or is he only ahead through circumstance? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and share the post and the page! It really helps me feel good about the page. Good day, and go B’s!

Bruins Honor Military by Scoring 5 Goals, En Route To Victory

Final Score: CBJ 2-5 BOS

Taking a page out of their opening night notebook, the Bruins walked out of their 2nd encounter with the Jackets victorious, again by 3 goals. Everything seemed to click for the B’s last night, and production came from multiple places. After a slow start, the Bruins found their way to the lead, and never looked back.

cbj-bos1
Courtesy: Getty Images

The first period started a bit slow, as Columbus came out ready to play. They struck first when a turnover by Zdeno Chara turned into a goal by Nick Foligno, just 2:29 into the game. It was that goal, though, that put the Bruins into overdrive, and they quickly turned the game around. 6 minutes later, Torey Krug’s one-time bomb from the point set off a span of 4 goals in 4:01 in the middle of the period. After a beautiful feed from Krejci, Krug loaded up and let it rip, and with traffic in front Sergei Bobrovski was left no chance to save it. Just over a minute later, another Bruin scored his first goal of the season. Matt Beleskey scored following a centering pass from rookie Austin Czarnik. Beleskey, who seemingly every other fan except for me wants out, has turned his game around since Jimmy Hayes was benched, and then moved to the fourth line. 2 and a half minutes later, Beleskey would return the favor, earning the secondary assist on Czarnik’s goal, putting Boston up 3-1. Not yet done with the scoring, though, Boston would pick up another goal in the 1st, after Tim Schaller’s shot (initially thought to hit the post) was ruled a goal. The call did not come from the officials on the ice, but by the NHL headquarters in Toronto, who slowed the footage down, and saw the puck actually hit the post on the inside of the net. The review put Boston up 4-1, their 2nd 3 goal lead in 3 games.

cbj-bos2
Courtsey: Getty Images

The rest of the game was like the average game. Boston only put up 1 more goal, this one coming off the stick of David Backes. Meanwhile, in the 3rd period, Columbus would “score” their final goal of the game. The Bruins failed to control the puck on a faceoff, and Rask was caught sleeping, as Colin Miller slipped the puck past him. It was an embarrassing asterisk on an otherwise impressive game. They were able to survive a late-game surge from Columbus and clinched a 5-2 victory, their second win against the Blue Jackets.

 

3 Ups:

1. The Unlikely Scorers –

5 goals were scored last night, all from different players. What’s interesting about that, is only one of the goals came from somebody who already had multiple goals this season (Backes). Torey Krug and Matt Beleskey both tallied their long-awaited first of the year. Neither man has played poorly, they just haven’t been able to find the net. Austin Czarnik and Tim Schaller both netted their second goals of the year. Each man came into the night only having one goal to their name. It was nice, as a Bruins fan, to see production come from people not named David Pastrnak or Brad Marchand (as much as I love those guys).

2. Defense – 

cbj-os3
Courtesy: Getty Images

Columbus only took 18 shots last night. And it was really 17, except they had to count the own-goal as a shot for Columbus. The defense did an outstanding job of limiting the amount of chances the Blue Jackets had. Other than on the first goal, not many mistakes were made by the once porous Bruins’ defense.

3. Great Puck Movement – 

Specifically by the Krejci line, the Bruins moved the puck with ease in the offensive zone. There were several instances during the game in which it appeared the Bruins were on the power play, despite all 5 skaters being on the ice for both teams. This puck movement was exactly how the first Bruins goal was scored. After a great stretch of about 30 seconds, Krejci and crew finally found Krug out high, and he buried a slap-shot to tie the game. We need to move the puck like that all the time.

3 Downs:

1. Own Goal –

I know it was a fluke thing, and the first time it’s happened this year, but scoring on yourself is embarrassing. They’re lucky it wasn’t a close game.

2. Being Out-Hit –

cbj-bos4.jpg

Courtesy: Getty Images

Columbus recorded more hits than Boston last night. Not by a small margin either. With guys like Matt Beleskey, Brad Marchand, David Backes, and Zdeno Chara, there is no reason for the Bruins not to get the better of the physical play. Intimidation is a key component in hockey games, and we’re just not getting it.

3. The Fans –

We won 5-2, but outside of right after the goals were scored, you’d think the game was 100-0 Columbus! What the hell do the fans want? We blow out teams at home, silence. We get destroyed at home, silence. We have closely-contested games where we barely escape with the win, silence. Are Bruins’ fans just zombies who are never satisfied, and therefore are wasting their money? Perhaps.

 

3 Takeaways: 

1. Brandon Carlo led the Bruins in ice time last night. The young defenseman has been one of the only consistent bright-spots on the back-end this year (along with Krug).

2. Tuukka Rask improved to 8-1-0 last night, his best start to a season in his career. He has been very impressive in all but 1 game this year, and he is giving the non-zombie fans something to cheer for.

3. The bottom 3 lines all scored a goal last night. Production has been limited to the first and fourth lines this year, so to see production across the board was a welcome sight.

 

3 Stars:

3. David Krejci (C-BOS)

2. Austin Czarnik (RW-BOS)

1. Matt Beleskey (LW-BOS)

 

Did you enjoy the game last night? What stood out to you? Who are your 3 stars of the night? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE this post with your fellow B’s fans.

11/10: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Boston Bruins (7:00 on NESN)

B’s look to bounce back after Election Day loss

As America watched its future be decided on Tuesday night, the Bruins were engaged in a tight battle of their own, losing 3-2 to their longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. I, like everybody else, was glued to the news on Tuesday and did not watch the game. If you’re wondering (which you’re probably not) why there wasn’t a post-game report, that would be the reason.

But I’m back, tonight, as the Bruins host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at TD Garden. The B’s and Jackets faced-off in Columbus to open the season on October 13th, with Boston coming out on top 6-3. Columbus has since become a very good team in the middle of the east, off to a 6-3-2 record (14 points) due, in large part, to the fact that they have given up only 23 goals (2nd lowest in the league). While the Blue Jackets have played fewer games than most of the league, that is still an impressive number. Boston’s offensive game from last season has not been as strong, and overcoming the seemingly solid Columbus defense is a potential issue. But we can only speculate. It’s up to the players to play.

Stories of the Game

PASTRNAK IS FLAMING HOT RIGHT NOW –

David Pastrnak is on the streak of his life right now, and it’s just the third year of his career. Pasta has scored in the last 5 games he has played, bringing him to 9 goals on the season. Easily one of the stars of the next 15 years, he sits tied for 2nd in the league in goals scored, and is leading the Bruins with ease. I know in the last two pre-game reports, I’ve used Pastrnak in the keys to the game, but tonight, I will refrain, but know that his hot hand is something the Bruins are looking to capitalize on. Let’s just hope we’re not left disheartened in June when his contract expires, as we have a history of letting young talent slip through our hands.

CLOSE GAME IN MONTREAL – 

It was not a win, but the close game in Montreal on Tuesday is something Boston can look to build on. They lost only by a goal, and a goal scored in the last minute, no less. Not a bad day in the neighbor country. With Montreal sitting at the top of the league, and Boston starting rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre, it was surprising to many that the game was as close as it ended up being. I expected more goals on either end, but it was a closely contested battle, and one that should have Bruins’ fans excited.

POWER PLAY PERFORMING PARTICULARLY PROFICIENT – 

(Say that 10 times fast) It’s true, the Achilles’ heel of the early season for Boston, has recently surged. In the course of the last 2 games, the power-play has scored 4 times in 10 opportunities. It has risen from dead last, to 23rd in the league in efficiency, now at 14.6%. A large part of this success has been the line combinations being altered. Last year, Boston’s first unit was so strong, that it would be out for most of the power play, and was never touched unless a player was injured. This year, however, with only Loui Eriksson missing from the group, they have struggled to find consistent performance from the top guys. But, the second unit has been strong, and with a few minor changes to the top line, it has begun to get chances as of late. The NHL is a living being, and always is changing. What worked a year ago, doesn’t work today. The Bruins have work still to do, but they are on track to get the power play back to last year’s numbers.

 

3 Keys: Presented by Nobody

1. Protect the House – 

Tuukka Rask is expected to get the start tonight, and the defense needs to be ready. It’s always tough to predict how a goalie will do after having a game off, no matter how good they are. It is imperative that the defensemen do a good job of not allowing many shots to get through, and allow Rask to see the shots that do, unobstructed. The less shots he faces, the less chance of a goal, the more confidence he has going forward. I know he’s not lacking confidence, but a good night tonight will be good following the game off.

2. Get the Arena Going –

Massachusetts, for the most part, is upset. A lot of the state was not happy with the results of the Election, and last night, the city of Boston faced a group of protesters, speaking out against the president-elect. Tonight, hopefully, the protests will have died down, and not take away from both attendance, and attitude of those at TD Garden. But, a lot of the people of Boston need something to cheer about, and they’re clearly getting desperate, so give them a good game. A goal in the first period will get the crowd buzzing, and if they can manage a second goal in the opening frame, the place will erupt in cheers. Basically, 2 first period goals is a guaranteed win tonight.

3. Keep up the Good Work

3/8 on Monday and 1/2 on Tuesday. That’s how Boston’s power play has performed in the last 2 games. An impressive turnaround from the numbers they started the year with. They are going to need to keep the power play rolling against Columbus’s solid defense.

 

PROJECTED LINEUP:

Marchand—Bergeron—Pastrnak

Spooner—Krejci—Backes

Beleskey—Nash—Czarnik

Schaller—Moore—Hayes

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Liles-C Miller

Rask

McIntyre

MY LINEUP

Marchand—Bergeron—Pastrnak

Spooner—Krejci—Backes

Beleskey—Nash—Czarnik

Schaller—Moore—Hayes

Chara-Carlo

Krug-Miller

Morrow-McQuaid

Rask

McIntyre

 

Prediction: COL 1-3 BOS

*It was 6-3 the last time these two met, Boston winning, but Rask was playing hurt, and the defense was brand new. Now with about 15% of the year down, Rask looks sharp, and the defense is playing well. Look for a big difference in the first period compared to opening night.

 

What do you think will happen? What are your 3 keys? Are you threatened by Columbus? Let me know in the comments. Help out the page by sharing this article on social media. Go B’s!

Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens – Game 736

7:30 on NESN
Montreal holds a 359-266-110 lead over Boston all time

The greatest rivalry in all of sports takes to the ice for the second time this season, and the 736th time in the history of regular season hockey. Earlier this season, the Canadiens strolled in to Boston and walked out with a 4-2 win. In that game however, the rivalry that had gone seemingly dormant in years past, was once again entertaining to watch. There was hard hits, good scrums, and a close game. It was a lot of fun to watch. Can they put on the same performance tonight, this time in Montreal?

The Canadiens have been a thorn in the sides of the Bruins throughout history, but particularly the last few seasons. Of the last 10 meetings between the storied franchises, the Hated Habs have taken 8 of them. It’s almost guaranteed in the minds of Habs’ fans that they’re going to find a way to win. The Bruins are hoping to change that tonight. It could be an uphill battle, though.

The Habs have been on a roll to start the season, jumping out to a 10-1-1 record. Their only hiccup, a shootout loss to Ottawa in the second game of the year, and the second one, which was so embarrassing I won’t even bring it up. Who am I kidding? I’m a B’s fan! Of course I’m going to bring up the fact that my arch-nemesis was destroyed 10-0 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nonetheless, Montreal has been impressive, as much as it pains me to say. They’re getting production from everybody, and Carey Price continues to show why he is widely-considered the best goalie in the world. I know, you hate hearing that, but it’s true. Carey Price is damn good. Why can’t he play for Boston?

On the other side, Boston has a really good road team again this year. Their only wins against Montreal last year came at the Bell Centre. They have a 5-2-0 record away from the Garden (against a 2-3-0 record at home), and look to improve upon that tonight.

 

Now that the background story is out of the way, let’s focus on the 3 major stories coming into meeting 736.

 

Montreal’s DOMINANT Start – 

As mentioned, Montreal has a 10-1-1 record and is the best team in the league. They have a +11 goal differential overall, and are undefeated at home. With Carey Price healthy, this is a team that could be looking at adding onto its storied past, and get another Cup. They are led in scoring by Alex Galchenyuk, with 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points. Price has a 7-0-0 record, a 1.57 GAA, and has been on the ice for 419:10 as Montreal’s backstopper. After a few years as a mid-pack team, Montreal is looking poised to return to the Cup picture.

 

Tuukka Rask Starting Again –

Nothing has been confirmed, but so far, according to nhl.com, the signs all point to Rask manning between the pipes. Rask has been impressive, but after starting in 5 consecutive games now, one must wonder how much Rask has in the tank before he has a meltdown, and has another New York type game. He was great last night, but I’m not sure if starting him back to back is a good idea. Especially with the whole leg situation, which nobody really knows what’s going on, I don’t want to burn him out. This is a game we want to win, for sure, but we don’t to risk Rask to do it.

 

Great Win for Boston, Huge Loss for Montreal –

While it wasn’t in their last game, the 10-0 loss is still fresh in the mind of Montreal. How can you forget about getting whooped that bad? They had a less than impressive 5-4 win against Philadelphia in their last game, but it wasn’t enough to counter the huge loss. Meanwhile, Boston is coming off a dominant 4-0 performance, on home ice, an area in which the Bruins struggles have been well documented. The momentum pendulum is swinging Boston’s way right now, and hopefully they can keep it up!

 

*Mini-story – Jimmy Hayes, Joe Morrow and Zane McIntyre were the only people on the ice for work this morning, so it would appear none of them are going to play tonight.

 

3 KEYS:

1. Keep the Volume Down – 

It’s Montreal-Boston, it’s in Montreal, it’s going to be loud. The higher the decibel-level, the better the home team plays. Score early, establish the physical game, and take the crowd out of the game. If you can quiet a Canadiens crowd, you’ll do just fine.

2. Hit the Hot Hand – 

It was a key in the last game and it’s a key in this one. David Pastrnak has a 4 game goal streak. That’s impressive! He’s becoming a threat everytime he takes to the ice. When you’re hot, you’re hot, and right now, Pasta is cooking! (Sorry). He really is, though. He has been one of the best forwards on the squad, and the Bruins should take advantage of that.

3. Build On Last Game – 

It was a 4-0 win against a division opponent! Use the momentum to your advantage, and go get another one. Rask is a good goalie, and hopefully he isn’t worn out. We have a good offense, and stout penalty kill. We could win this game. But I don’t think we will. We just have to focus on what we did well, and do more of it. If we can do that, we will win this game.

 

Projected Lines –

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Acciari

Chara-Carlo

Krug-Mcquaid

Liles-C Miller

Rask

McIntyre

 

MY LINEUP – 

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Acciari

Chara-Carlo

Krug-C Miller

Liles-McQuaid

Rask

McIntyre

 

Prediction: BOS 3-4 MTL (OT) I think we can get a point, but cant win. We had a solid game in Boston, but late defensive woes blew it. Montreal has been hot enough, and we’ve been decent enough, that they’re going to win, but they’ll have to fight!

 

Who do you have winning tonight? What are your 3 keys? How much do you hate the Habs? Let me know in the comments! GO B’S!