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  • Game Day Preview: Bruins at Blue Jackets

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    Game Day Preview: Bruins at Blue Jackets

    Tim Rosenthal December 27, 2016

    The NHL’s holiday break is officially over and teams are back in business.

    For the Boston Bruins, it’s hardly been business as usual as they come into their first game of the break carrying a 3-4-3 record in their last 10 games. As some of the Bruins’ ongoing issues like the lack of goal scoring, power play ineffectiveness and backup goaltending situation become more alarming, the Blue Jackets are trending in an opposite direction since their last loss to the Black and Gold in November.

    Since their 5-2 loss to the B’s in their lone meeting at TD Garden on November 10th, the Blue Jackets have only lost three times. Head coach John Tortorella and company carry a 12-game winning streak into tonight’s game and have been clicking on all cylinders.

    The Bruins, who have already beaten the Blue Jackets twice by a combined 11-5 tally, have another tough task ahead of them as they face a Columbus squad that ranks in the top 10 in nearly every basic statistical category.

    Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
    TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
    Records: Bruins 18-14-4 (40 points), Blue Jackets 23-5-4 (50 points)
    Location: Nationwide Arena

    Bruins projected lines

    Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
    Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-David Backes
    Frank Vatrano-Austin Czarnik-Riley Nash
    Anton Blidh-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes

    Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
    Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
    Kevan Miller-Colin Miller

    Tuukka Rask
    Anton Khudobin

    Blue Jackets projected lines

    Brandon Saad-Alexander Wennberg-Nick Foligno
    Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson
    Matt Calvert-William Karlsson-Josh Anderson
    Scott Hartnell-Lukas Sednak-Sam Gagner

    Zach Werenski-Seth Jones
    Jack Johnson-David Savard
    Ryan Murray-Markus Nutivaara

    Sergei Bobrovsky
    Curtis McElhinney

    Tonight’s storylines

    – Any team will tell you that staying out of the box is a key to success. Even though the Bruins boast the league’s third best penalty kill (87.3 percent), the last thing they want tonight is to give the Blue Jackets opportunities with the man advantage. Led by Cam Atkinson’s league-leading 17 power play points, the Blue Jackets come in ranked first on the man advantage converting on 26.9 percent of their chances. Though if there’s one silver lining, it’s that the Blue Jackets haven’t drawn many opponents to the box. Their 93 power play opportunities are the third fewest in the league trailing only the Wild (92) and Islanders (91).

    – One player who likes playing against the Blue Jackets is David Backes. In 47 career games, the former Blues captain has 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists), that also includes his five points (three goals, two assists) in the Bruins’ two wins vs. Columbus this season. For a guy who only has five points in his last ten games, another matchup with the hottest team in the league could be just what the doctored ordered.

    – For the first time since suffering a concussion against the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 27, John-Michael Liles joined his fellow teammates for the morning skate. His timetable to return is still unknown as Claude Julien told reporters that Liles still hasn’t been cleared for contact. Liles, who came over from Carolina at the trade deadline last year, notched five assists in his first 22 games with the Black and Gold this season.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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