Game Day Preview: Bruins at Blackhawks
It wasn’t pretty, but the Boston Bruins got a much-needed 6-5 win over the Blues on Friday night to, at the time, keep their one-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings in place. That lead is now gone following Detroit sweeping the Wild and Leafs on back to back night as they take over third place in the Atlantic Division.
With the Red Wings idle until Wednesday, the Bruins have two chances to regain that third place spot in the Atlantic, beginning this afternoon in Chicago. Last month, the B’s played arguably their most complete game of the season; holding the league’s leading scorer Patrick Kane and the high-powered Blackhawks in check during their 4-2 win at TD Garden.
The Bruins hope for a repeat performance this afternoon in their last game away from Causeway Street this season. This time around, they face a Blackhawks squad hampered by injuries (notably Marian Hossa and goaltender Corey Crawford) and Duncan Keith’s six-game suspension for his blatant high-stick on Wild forward Charlie Coyle earlier in the week.
Gametime: 12:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NBC/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 41-29-8 (90 points), Blackhawks 45-26-7 (97 points)
Location: United Center
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Lee Stempniak
Landon Ferraro-Noel Acciari-Seth Griffith
Zdeno Chara-John-Michael Liles
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow-Zach Trotman
Blackhawks projected lines
Andrew Ladd-Jonathan Toews-Tomas Fleischmann
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Brandon Mashinter-Teuvo Teravainen-Dale Weise
Andrew Desjardins-Marcus Kruger-Andrew Shaw
Brent Seabrook-Viktor Svedberg
Trevor van Riemsdyk-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Roszival-Erik Gustafsson
Matchup to watch: Bruins offense vs. Shorthanded Blackhawks D
With Keith watching from the press box until the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks lose arguably one of the top all-around defensemen in the NHL. Replacing Keith on Chicago’s top unit is rookie Viktor Svedberg, who, in his first 23 games, is averaging over 16 minutes a night to go along with four points (two goals, two assists) and a minus-five rating.
Against a Blues squad that had only allowed one goal in five games before Friday night, the Bruins, who tallied just 10 goals in the last seven games in March, exploded for a six spot. Although a repeat performance from Friday might be a stretch, David Krejci (fresh off a four-point night), Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and company have a good opportunity to pounce on the young and shorthanded Blackhawks defense.
Storyline to watch: The ongoing playoff chase
With Detroit off until Wednesday, the only game to watch involving the Bruins and their quest for the playoffs comes later this afternoon when the Flyers, fresh off a 3-2 win over the Senators, face the Penguins in Pittsburgh. After Philly’s game against its in-state rivals, they’ll be off until Wednesday when they welcome the Red Wings.
By the time Wednesday rolls around, the Bruins could be ahead by three points over the Flyers and Red Wings. At the very least, they’ll have two chances to overtake the Wings before Thursday’s showdown at TD Garden.