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  • Game Day Preview: Bruins at Wild


    Game Day Preview: Bruins at Wild

    Chris Chirichiello December 17, 2014

    The Boston Bruins suffered another tough shootout loss in Nashville on Tuesday night falling to the Predators 3-2.

    It has been the same story for the Black and Gold as their struggles continue with putting pucks in the back of the net and taking dumb penalties. After Milan Lucic gave the B’s a 1-0 lead, he then committed a hooking penalty behind Pekka Rinne. Mike Fisher capitalized on the man advantage tying the game at 1-1. It was the Predators first power-play goal at home since Opening night (0-last 43). The momentum shifted from that point forward even after Reilly Smith tied the game at 2-2.

    It won’t get any easier for the B’s as they now travel to Minnesota to face the Wild who overcame a two goal defect in Boston in the third period earlier this season to beat the B’s 4-3.

    Claude Julien’s team has now lost three games in a row and faces a Wild team who is 9-3-1 on home ice.

    The B’s have not had success on the road against the Western conference as they own a 1-4-0 record this season.

    The struggle to obtain two points is very real for the Black and Gold at this point in the season. They either need to start playing better hockey or changes will have to be made as they are on the outside looking in at the playoff structure.

    Here is your complete Bruins/Wild preview:

    Gametime: 8:00 PM
    Records: Bruins 15-13-3, 33 points/Wild 16-12-1, 33 points
    TV/Radio: NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
    Location: Xcel Energy Center

    Bruins’ projected lines:

    Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
    Matt Fraser-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
    Milan Lucic-Chris Kelly-Craig Cunningham
    Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Seth Griffith

    Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
    Dennis Seidenberg-Zach Trotman
    Torey Krug-Kevan Miller

    Niklas Svedberg
    Tuukka Rask

    Wild projected lines:

    Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Thomas Vanek
    Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Jason Pominville
    Nino Niederreiter-Charlie Coyle-Justin Fontaine
    Brett Sutter-Erik Haula-Kyle Brodziak

    Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin
    Marco Scandella-Christian Folin
    Nate Prosser-Justin Falk

    Darcy Kuemper
    Niklas Backstrom

    Who to watch for Bruins: Reilly Smith

    If there is one line that is providing a spark for the Black and Gold it’s the Patrice Bergeron line. It’s really the only line that has great chemistry due to the amount of games these three players have played with one another.

    One player that is benefitting and playing on another level right now is Reilly Smith. After tying the game last night in Nashville, Smith tied line mate Brad Marchand for the team lead in goals with eight. The right-winger also creeped his way into the top five in point total for the Black and Gold with 16 points in 31 games.

    Over his last five games, Smith has four goals and two assists. Imagine where the Bruins would be right now without him during this stretch of only scoring two goals per contest.

    In six career games versus the Wild, Smith has two goals, two assists, a plus-2 rating, three blocked shots and nine shots on goal.

    We were all aware of Smith’s 10 game drought of lighting the lamp, but we should also be aware of the streak he is on now. The production from this line can’t go unnoticed especially the contributions from the 23 year-old.

    Who to watch for Wild: Thomas Vanek

    He may be wearing another different uniform, but when Thomas Vanek matches up against the Black and Gold, he usually gets his way.

    Vanek has been a thorn in the B’s side his entire career. In 56 career games, Vanek has 30 goals and 33 assists while sporting a plus-22 rating. In his last game against the B’s, he contributed with an assist.

    This season for the Wild, Vanek has four goals and 14 assists. In his last five games, he has two goals and two assists.

    There is no secret. Vanek gets up for games against the B’s. Let’s just hope the B’s defense has had enough of Vanek lighting the lamp and being a difference maker.

    Game Day Edge: Score first and build a lead

    It seems as if the Bruins are having a tough time scoring altogether, but good things will happen when a team can score first on the road and actually build a two-goal lead.

    The B’s are almost unbeatable when possessing two goal leads under Claude Julien. But, if there’s one team that can overcome it, it’s the Wild as we saw in October in TD Garden.

    The players always preach about getting pucks in deep, fore-checking and sticking to the system-now they must execute it.

    Over the last few games, the Black and Gold scored the first goal, but were unable to build a lead whether it was from taking penalties or having defensive lapses, but it feels if they can build a two goal lead, the two points they desperately need will follow.

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