Game Day preview: Flyers at Bruins
Although there’s still some concerns with the Boston Bruins, things are a little smoother for them entering tonight’s matchup with the hated Philadelphia Flyers.
Following three straight losses to start the 2015-16 season, the Black and Gold are coming off a two-game west coast sweep of the Avalanche and Coyotes where they combined to outscore those teams, 11-5. Their power play — especially their first unit — was lights out while their defense slowly showed improvements. David Krejci and Torey Krug continued their early hot streaks and Tyler Randell scored twice on two shots in his first two career NHL games.
Things could look a little bleak for the Bruins tonight, however. Matt Beleskey will miss his first game of the season with an upper-body injury and Patrice Bergeron missed the morning skate due to personal reasons. Bergeron’s status for tonight is to be determined.
Still, Claude Julien’s bunch can help themselves with their third win in a row against a Flyers squad — coming off a 2-1 loss to the Stars last night — that is struggling to find the back of the net.
Gametime: 8:00 PM
Records: Bruins 2-3-0 (6 points), Flyers 2-2-1 (5 points)
TV/Radio: NBCSN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden
Bruins’ projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron^-Loui Eriksson
Brett Connolly-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes-Ryan Spooner-Chris Kelly
Zac Rinaldo-Joonas Kemppainen-Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara-Kevan Miller
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Tommy Cross-Colin Miller
^Game time decision
Flyers projected lines
Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Sam Gagner-Scott Laughton-Bryaden Schenn
Chris VandeVelde-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Ryan White
Mark Streit-Nick Schultz
Michael Del Zotto-Brandon Manning
Yevgeni Medvedev-Radko Gudas
Matchup to watch: Struggling Flyers offense vs. struggling Bruins defense
I don’t know if this has anything to do with Back to the Future day or not, but it’s kind of eerie to see a usually stout Flyers offense struggle to find the back of the net early on. The same can be said for the Bruins defense, which is obviously something they take pride in.
Perhaps the Flyers struggles offensively have been in part due to the system that new head coach Dave Hakstol is implementing in Philadelphia. But with the likes of Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek, there’s no denying that they should be a little better than where they are now. With just eight goals in five games, Philly’s offense is ranked 28th in goals for. The only two teams that have a worse offense? The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.
Fittingly enough, the Bruins are 28th in goals allowed, giving up 21 in five games. The winless Blue Jackets and struggling Flames are the only two teams who have given up more tallies than the Black and Gold. With Dennis Seidenberg’s injury and Zdeno Chara arriving late after nursing another injury, the young B’s defense has gone through some growing pains to start, but that was to be expected.
Ironically, the Flyers have only given up 12 goals (good for a tie for fifth), and the Bruins are lighting the lamp at will with 18 goals, including 14 in their last three games.
Can the Black and Gold hold stout on D and maintain their offensive balance in a full 60-minute effort? Or will the Flyers offense break out of their slump and get a win
Storyline to watch: Will Bergeron play?
With the Bruins defense struggling, they can ill afford to lose their star two-way player. As stated earlier, the reigning Selke Trophy winner is a game-time decision after skipping the morning skate due to personal reasons.
If Bergeron is out, Chris Kelly will likely replace the second line center void after skating with Brad Marchand and Brett Connolly this morning. Here are the rest of the line combinations from the morning skate:
Loui Eriksson-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Zac Rinaldo-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Max Talbot-Joonas Kemppainen-Tyler Randell
We’ll see in warmups whether Bergeron is playing. If so, expect Talbot to take the seat in the press box for the third game in a row.