Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Blue Jackets
The Boston Bruins may be the hottest team in the NHL as of now winners of five in a row. They haven’t lost a game in regulation since their loss at Columbus back on December 27th. The Black and Gold own a 6-0-3 in their last nine games giving them enough steam to get back into the playoff picture.
On Boston.com: Bruins stay hot after passing tough tests
In their latest win over the New York Rangers, Tuukka Rask notched his second shutout of the season while Patrice Bergeron scored his 11th goal early in the first period which proved to be the game-winner. David Krejci added his sixth of the year while Loui Eriksson scored a “goal scorers goal” roofing one past Cam Talbot. The Bruins went on to win 3-0 at TD Garden.
Now, the Columbus Blue Jackets roll to town nursing themselves back to health. The last time these two teams met, it wasn’t really much of a contest as the Blue Jackets dominated in a 6-2 victory out in Columbus. But, the Blue Jackets have lost four in a row including their latest loss to the same Rangers team the Bruins beat two nights ago.
Brad Marchand will be out of the line up serving his first game of his two-game suspension for his slew foot on Rangers Derick Brassard.
On Boston.com: Marchand suspended two games for slew foot
Here is your complete Bruins-Blue Jackets Preview:
[Looking to see the Bruins try for their sixth win in a row? Check out last minute Bruins-Blue Jackets ticket prices on Ticketmonster]
Gametime: 7:00 PM
Records: Bruins 24-15-6 (54 points)/Blue Jackets 18-21-3 (39 points)
TV/Radio: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden
Bruins’ projected lines:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Craig Cunningham-Gregory Campbell-Jordan Caron
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Blue Jackets’ projected lines:
Scott Hartnell-Ryan Johansen-Nick Foligno
Jeremy Morin-Alexander Wennberg-Cam Atkinson
Sean Collins-Mark Letstu-Josh Anderson
Corey Tropp-Brandon Dubinsky-Jared Boll
Jack Johnson-David Savard
Kevin Connauton-James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin-Dalton Prout
Who to watch for Bruins: David Krejci
Since David Krejci has returned, the Bruins seem more stabilized as a four-line unit. The first-line is back to its high level of play with Milan Lucic moving his feet and playing with physicality. The emergence of 18-year old David Pastrnak has cemented himself with the big club, but make no mistake about it, this is because of Krejci.
The centerman is one of the most talented players on the B’s and with him out there, he makes everyone that much better. Since December 23rd (a span of 11 games), the 28 year-old has three goals and eight assists.
The Black and Gold are 9-2-3 since No.46 returned from his lower-body injury. The power-play has come alive, the first-line has woken up and, most importantly, Krejci is back to playing at full strength.
Over his last five games, Krejci has one goal and five assists to go along with a plus-5 rating. The B’s have won every game. Look for Krejci to extend his point streak to six games Saturday night against the Blue Jackets.
Who to watch for Blue Jackets: Ryan Johansen
If there is one player that is on a roll during the Blue Jackets losing streak, it’s Ryan Johansen. The 22 year-old has four goals and three assists in his last five games. Johansen also has a 12 game point streak in the works that is longest in the NHL right now.
In his last game against the Black and Gold, Johansen had an assist and three shots on net while getting 21:18 of ice time. He also won 74 percent of his face-offs.
In his short career against the B’s, the fourth overall pick in 2010 has two goals and three assists in seven games. Johansen also has seven hits, four blocked shots and has won 53 percent of his face-offs.
The B’s will have their hands full with a player that has at least one point in 12 straight contests. But, with the B’s only allowing six goals during their five game win streak, the task is tall for the 22 year-old.
Game Day Edge: Take advantage of Blue Jackets back-to-back scenario, lack of confidence
Again, the B’s will benefit from having an extra day to prepare for Columbus while the Blue Jackets hosted the New York Rangers Friday night.
It was a hard and physical game for the Blue Jackets as the Rangers came off two straight losses. The Blue Shirts edged the Blue Jackets, 2-1.
The Black and Gold should still have a bad taste in their mouth from their last meeting against the Blue Jackets in Columbus. The Blue Jackets manhandled the B’s. Niklas Svedberg was pulled early while Rask didn’t perform much better en route to the 6-2 defeat.
Claude Julien’s team is on a mission right now and they are playing up to their ability. During their five-game win streak, they have allowed a total of six goals. The defense is tighter and the layers are becoming tough to break.
If the Bruins want to squeeze out another two points Saturday night, come out as they did against the Rangers because the Blue Jackets may be tired in the first 20 minutes trying to get their legs back not to mention lacking confidence.