Bruins Looking to Bounce Back at Home Against Young Blues Squad

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Bruins Looking to Bounce Back at Home Against Young Blues Squad The Bruins ended their three-game road trip on a down note with a 5-3 loss at Washington on Friday, but they won't have long to lick their wounds as they get right back to work on Saturday when St. Louis pays a visit to the Garden.

The Blues are arguably the hottest team in the NHL at the moment, as they come in having won five straight games and having earned at least a point in seven straight.

The Bruins had a three-game winning streak of their own snapped by Washington, so they'll be eager to bounce back in this game against one of the Western Conference's surprise leaders.

The Blues feature a young but talented squad that is just starting to put things together after missing the playoffs last year. The Bruins will need a complete 60-minute effort to beat them, something sorely lacking in Friday's performance against the Capitals when the Bruins didn't get anything going until the third period.

 

When and Where

Boston Bruins (7-3-0, 14 points) vs. St. Louis Blues (7-1-2, 16 points)
Nov. 6, 7 p.m. (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Head to Head

This is the only meeting of the season between the Bruins and Blues. Boston holds a 60-39-18-6 edge in the all-time series, including a 35-15-9-2 mark in Boston. Boston won the only meeting last year 4-2 in St. Louis, but the Blues have won the last matchups in Boston, where the Bruins haven't beaten St. Louis since 2001.

Goaltending Matchup

Tim Thomas became the first Bruins goalie ever to start a season 7-0-0 after beating Buffalo 5-2 on Wednesday, but was pulled after allowing three goals on 25 shots in two periods in Washington on Friday. He didn't factor in the decision though, and remains undefeated on the year. Tuukka Rask had struggled a bit in limited action in his first two starts, but was sharp in relief of Thomas on Friday. He stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced, but still took the loss to fall to 0-3-0 on the year. Rask will likely get the start in this one. He's 1-0-0 with a 2.02 GAA and a .935 save percentage against St. Louis.

St. Louis' Jaroslav Halak might be the only goalie hotter than Thomas in the NHL. Halak has posted shutouts in three of his last four starts and is 7-1-1 with a 1.53 GAA and a .940 save percentage this year. The former Canadian has had plenty of success against the Bruins, with a 5-3-0 record, 1.99 GAA, .938 save percentage and two shutouts against Boston. Backup Ty Conklin has played in just one game so far, going 0-0-1 with a 1.85 GAA and a .920 save percentage.

Stat Sheet

Bruins

  • Nathan Horton, who had three goals in his first two games as a Bruin and five goals in his first six games, scored his first goal in four games Friday night in Washington. He still leads the Bruins with six goals.
  • Zdeno Chara has an even plus/minus rating over his last two games, but he got there in rather strange fashion. He was a plus-4 in Wednesday's 5-2 win at Buffalo, but struggled to a team-worst minus-4 Friday in Washington.
  • Shawn Thornton scored his second goal of the season in just the 10th game of the year on Friday. That already exceeds his total from last year, when he managed just one goal in 74 games. The two goals matches his third highest season total in his eight-year career, and came in his 300th NHL game.

Blues

  • Since the 1991-92 season, the Blues have a .704 winning percentage against Boston (18-7-2), their best mark against any team in that span. That includes an 8-3-2 mark in Boston, after going just 9-32-7 in Boston prior to 1991.
  • St. Louis has played in five overtime games already this year, including all three of its games against Eastern Conference teams. The Blues are 3-0 against the East in those games, beating Philadelphia 2-1 in OT, Pittsburgh 1-0 in OT and Atlanta 4-3 in a shootout, but Saturday's game in Boston will be St. Louis' first road game against an Eastern team.
  • Matt D'Agostini leads the Blues with five goals after posting 2-2-4 totals in the last three games. He's already exceeded his totals from last year, when he has 2-2-4 totals in 47 games with Montreal and St. Louis. He's on pace to shatter his career best of 12 goals in 53 games with Montreal in 2008-09.

Infirmary Report

Bruins

  • Defenseman Johnny Boychuk (fractured left forearm) is expected to miss another three weeks.
  • Center Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) is out indefinitely.
  • Left wing Marco Sturm (knee surgery) is expected to be out until at least late November.
  • Center Trent Whitfield (ruptures Achilles) could miss the entire year.

Blues

  • Defenseman Barret Jackman (knee) is out indefinitely.
  • Defenseman Roman Polak (right wrist surgery) is out indefinitely.
  • Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (concussion) is on injured reserve.
  • Defenseman Nikita Nikitin (broken right wrist) is on injured reserve.

Familiar Faces

Brad Boyes played 144 games for the Bruins from 2005-07, putting up 39-64-103 totals before being traded for Dennis Wideman. Vladimir Sobotka played 134 games with Boston from 2007-10 with 6-16-22 totals before being dealt for the rights to David Warsofsky this summer. Coach Davis Payne played 22 games with Boston in 1995-97, while Conklin played collegiately at the University of New Hampshire.

Fight Card

The Blues have 11 fighting majors in 10 games despite enforcer Cam Janssen playing just one game. Janssen suffered a concussion when hit by teammate Brad Winchester, and has not dressed since being activated on Oct. 27. Winchester and B.J. Crombeen lead St. Louis with three fights, while David Backes, Eric Brewer, Erik Johnson, Alex Pietrangelo and Ryan Reaves each have had one. The Bruins maintained their fight a game pace when Adam McQuaid took on Washington's Matt Hendricks on Friday, giving Boston 10 fighting majors through 10 games. Greg Campbell, Milan Lucic and Mark Stuart each have two fighting majors, while Shawn Thornton, Nathan Horton, Dennis Seidenberg and McQuaid each have one. Last year's game featured one fight, with Byron Bitz taking on Jackman. There won't be a rematch of that bout though, as Bitz is now in Florida and Jackman is injured.

Outlook

The Bruins will try to bounce back from Friday's loss in Washington, but will face a tough challenge to do so against St. Louis. The quick turnaround could be beneficial to the Bruins, who won't have to dwell on what went wrong against the Capitals. But the Bruins will also have to overcome any fatigue as they play their third game in four nights against a rested St. Louis squad that had Friday off while awaiting their showdown with the Bruins.

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