The Boston Bruins look to continue their undefeated 2019 with a three-game week that includes matchups with two of the Eastern Conference’s elite.
Dates with the division rival Toronto Maple Leafs and Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals are on tap for a Bruins team finding its stride, having won four straight. Boston began the new year by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in the Winter Classic, and have cruised to victories over the Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames to improve to 3-0-0 in January.
Injuries continued to rattle the B’s roster, however, after Joakim Nordstrom suffered a non-displaced fibula fracture New Year’s Day and will miss at least three weeks.
The B’s sit just four points behind the Maple Leafs, and will hope to build some breathing room between the Sabres in the division, as just two points separate the teams.
Let’s take a look to the three games the B’s have on their plate for this week:
Tuesday, Jan. 8 vs. Minnesota Wild, 7 p.m. ET
Boston opens its week against a Minnesota Wild team that has won three of its last four games. But the Wild will have a tough matchup Monday against the Montreal Canadiens before making their way to TD Garden.
The Bruins’ defense, still without Charlie McAvoy, will need to keep their eyes on Zach Parise. The Minnesota winger is riding a five-game point streak that includes four goals and five assists. The Wild, on the other hand, will have their hands full with Brad Marchand, who has eight goals and 12 assists in his last 13 games.
Although the Wild may seem like an easy mark on paper, the Black and Gold have struggled mightily against them, going 8-13-1 all-time.
Thursday, Jan. 10 vs. Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET
The reigning Stanley Cup champions will make their way to TD Garden for the first time this season. The Capitals enjoyed a 7-0 shellacking of Boston on opening night and now sit atop the Metropolitan Division.
Washington hasn’t played its best hockey recently, though. The club has won just two of its last five games and has failed to score more than three goals during that stretch.
The Caps’ power play also has been in a bit of a rut, and that may mean good news for the B’s. The Capitals were 1-for-31 on the man-advantage over its past nine games after its Sunday win against the Detroit Red Wings when they went 0-for-4.
While Boston has allowed a league-leading nine shorthanded goals, it has shown improvement on the penalty kill. Before their tilt with the Sabres on Saturday, the B’s successfully killed 27 of their 29 penalties, including a perfect nine-game stretch when the club killed off each shorthanded situation.
Saturday, Jan. 12 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET
It’s a division-rival clash as Boston wraps up the week with a matchup on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs. This will be the fourth and final time the two meet in the regular season.
The B’s have played well against the Leafs this season, scoring 13 goals through their first three meetings. Toronto has won two of its last four games and will battle the Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils before welcoming the Black and Gold to Scotiabank Arena.
Toronto has been dealing with injuries to goalies Frederik Andersen and Garret Sparks, but could get Andersen back between the pipes at some point after its Monday battle with the Predators.
Boston’s defense will need to keep its eyes John Tavares and Auston Matthews, who have a combined 10 points for the Maple Leafs in their last four games.
Thumbnail photo via James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports Images