Game Day Preview: Bruins at Stars
The ever-changing playoff structure in the Eastern Conference saw the Bruins jump into the second wild card spot yesterday after the Islanders got blown out by the Blue Jackets during a 7-0 route in Columbus. With a little bit of help from the Canadiens beating the Maple Leafs in overtime on hockey night in Canada last night, the Bruins can return to third place in the Atlantic Division this afternoon with a win over the lowly Stars to close out their four-game road trip.
Two days removed from shipping Patrick Eaves to Anaheim for a conditional second round pick, the Stars enter today’s game having gone 3-7-0 in their last 10 but carry a two-game winning streak.
To no surprise, both Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have been carrying the Stars offensively as the dynamic duo is averaging nearly a point per game. Goaltending and defense, however, have been the Achilles heel in ‘Big D’ this season as Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen have done more harm than good between the pipes.
The Bruins bounced back nicely Thursday night in Los Angeles as they took home a 4-1 victory in one of their more well-rounded efforts of the season 24 hours after suffering their first loss in the Bruce Cassidy era in Anaheim.
Taking care of business against teams beneath them in the standings was a bit of a sore spot under Claude Julien, and even though the Stars sit tied for 11th in the West, they still possess a solid record on home ice with a mark of 17-9-6.
Interim coach Bruce Cassidy and company have not fared well when playing in front of a nationally televised audience. Last Sunday’s win against the Sharks marked the first win of the year on an NBC network. We’ll see if they can make it two national TV wins in a row against a team that they can ill afford to take lightly.
Gametime: 12:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NBC/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 31-24-6 (68 points), Stars 24-27-10 (58 points)
Location: American Airlines Center
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Riley Nash-Dominic Moore-Tim Schaller
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-John-Michael Liles
Stars projected lines
Jamie Benn-Cody Eakin-Brett Ritchie
Antoine Roussell-Tyler Seguin-Patrick Sharp
Lauri Korpikoski-Radek Faska-Jason Spezza
Curtis McKenzie-Devin Shore-Jiri Hudler
Esa Lindell-John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis-Jordie Benn
Johnny Oduya-Stephen Johns
– If there’s any Bruin who is due to score his first National Hockey League goal its Peter Cehlarik. Since being called up from Providence two weeks ago, Cehlarik has settled in nicely with David Krejci and David Pastrnak giving Cassidy a little more balance with his top six forwards. In five games, the rookie Slovak has a pair of assists while averaging 13:50 time on ice and nearly tallied his first NHL goal Thursday in Los Angeles in the first period if it weren’t for video review showing David Pastrnak just barely going offsides beforehand. Against a team that has given up 194 goals – third most in the league – Cehlarik should have his fair share of scoring chances this afternoon as he searches for that elusive first career goal.
– After today’s game in Dallas, the Bruins will be closely paying attention to this afternoon’s game between the Senators and Panthers. A B’s win and a Sens loss in regulation would put the two teams tied with 70 points, while a Boston loss in regulation and a Florida win would drop Cassidy’s bunch to fifth in the Atlantic. The Panthers and Sens have one and two games in hand, respectively, on the Black and Gold.