Game Day Preview: Ducks at Bruins
Regardless of tonight’s result against the Anaheim Ducks, the Boston Bruins will enter the All-Star break in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. A win, or an overtime/shootout loss, however, would put them in second place in the Atlantic Division for the first time since late December.
Tonight’s contest won’t be easy on Causeway Street, however, as they face a rested Ducks squad that is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. The Bruins are coming off a 3-2 win in Philadelphia on Monday, a game where they almost blew another two-goal lead against the Flyers.
Sitting four points behind the Arizona Coyotes for third place in the Pacific Division and six points in back of the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference’s wild card race, the Ducks hope to end their pre All-Star break slate on a high note as well. As they did against the Flyers last night, the Black and Gold hope to keep the Ducks right where they are in the Western standings.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 26-17-5 (57 points), Ducks 21-18-7 (49 points)
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Brett Connolly
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey-Joonas Kemppainen-David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes-Max Talbot-Zac Rinaldo
Zdeno Chara-Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Ducks projected lines
David Perron-Ryan Getzlaf-Chris Stewart
Patrick Maroon-Richard Rakell-Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg
Shawn Horcoff-Nate Thompson-Ryan Garbutt
Hampus Lindholm-Josh Manson
Sami Vatanen-Kevin Bieksa
Shea Theodore-Korbinian Holzer
Matchup to watch: Bruins vs. Ducks special teams
Prior to Monday’s game, the once league leading Bruins’ man advantage unit had gone one for their last 15. That stretch dipped the Bruins to second place in terms of power play percentage. The B’s PP struggles did not carry over against the Flyers, however, as they struck twice on the man advantage in the first period.
Trying to get back on track, the Bruins, who are dead last in terms of time spent on the power play (203 minutes, 7 seconds), will have a tall task against the league-leading Ducks penalty kill. If there’s any silver lining, the Ducks, like the Bruins, spend a lot of time shorthanded (278:27 for the Ducks and 278:41 for the B’s, good for fourth and third in the league, respectively), and also have the second least amount of time spent on the power play.
Will there be special teams opportunities for both teams? Or will both the Bruins and Ducks escape the sin bin and play most of the game at even strength? Those questions will be answered after the puck drops on Tuesday night.
Storyline to watch: Will the Bruins go into All-Star break on a high note?
“Jekyl and Hyde” is a term that is thrown around the streaky Bruins this year. For every win streak of four, five, or six games, they follow up by losing three or four in a row. Rinse, wash and repeat.
Having won two in a row and five of their last six, the Bruins are hoping for a consistent 60-minute effort against another heavy team like the Ducks. Whether they make things easy, however, remains to be seen.
One thing is certain, entering a six-day break with a win can only help the Black and Gold in hopes of separating themselves from the Eastern Conference’s pack of mediocrity.