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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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