The Bruins have hit a bit of a bump in the road after beginning the season on a torrid pace.
Boston still sits atop the Atlantic Division with a 12-3-5 record but has lost five of its last six games, including three shootout losses to the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. The B’s also have been plagued with injuries with Jake DeBrusk being sidelined since suffering a “freak” injury against the Montreal Canadiens, and Patrice Bergeron being a late scratch against the Caps.
But it does appear the team might get healthier starting Tuesday night, with both DeBrusk and Bergeron expected to be game-time decisions.
The Bruins have a three-game week ahead of them and it may just be what they need to get back on track, especially against three struggling teams.
Let’s take a look on what’s on tap for the Bruins:
Tuesday, Nov. 19 at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Nov. 21 vs. Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 22 vs. Minnesota Wild, 7 p.m. ET
What You Need To Know
The Devils on Monday placed goalie Cory Schneider on waivers after an 0-4-1 start. Schneider had just an .852 save percentage with a whopping 4.59 goals-against average in six starts. New Jersey recalled Louis Domingue was from the AHL after he posted a 2-1-1 record, 2.25 GAA and .914 save percentage at Binghamton. He’ll back up MacKenzie Blackwood who’s 7-4-3 for the Devils. New Jersey is 7-8-4, tied for eighth in the Metropolitan Division with the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, but has won three of its last four games. The Bruins blanked the Devils 3-0 in their first meeting earlier this season, keeping former No. 1 picks Jack Hughes and Taylor Hall of the score sheet.
Thursday will be the first time Buffalo and Boston meet this season. The Sabres have lost seven of their last eight games heading into their Tuesday matchup against the Minnesota Wild. But Buffalo is struggling on the forward front, having lost five in as many games, with Kyle Okposo sidelined due to his fourth concussion in three years, Johan Larsson and Marcus Johansson are day-to-day, Vladimir Sobotka is out four-to-six weeks and Tage Thompson out three-to-five weeks with an upper-body injury. So while both clubs are dealing with a slew of injuries, this may be the perfect time for the B’s to catch fire once again.
The Wild are in sole possession of last place and have a measly 7-11-2 record. They’re the worst team in the NHL and are averaging just 2.65 goals per game. Minnesota also is giving up 3.45 goals per game. So overall, the team is a mess and the Bruins have a prime opportunity to pick up two points to close out the week on a high note.
Who Bruins Need To Watch Out For
New Jersey doesn’t have anyone on its roster with double-digit goals, but only three players have not accounted for an assist this season. Hall leads the way with 15 helpers, while Kyle Palmieri has a team-high seven goals. Hughes has 10 points in 19 games, and just recently broke a four-game drought before notching an assist against the Canadiens. The Devils have a plethora of players contributing to the offense, and with the Bruins down Torey Krug for at least the rest of this week, it will be pivotal for the defense to stop the All-Star forward from finding an open man.
The Sabres are slim on forwards while the B’s potentially could get three back this week. And after toting out close to the same lineup every game for a month, Buffalo now is scrambling to remain ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings. The Sabres will rely heavily on Jack Eichel, who leads the team with 13 goals, Sam Reinhart (eight goals), Jeff Skinner (eight goals) and Victor Olofsson (seven goals) to help keep Buffalo afloat while it explores options to fill the voids.
Old friend Ryan Donato isn’t off to the hottest of starts in Minnesota, amassing just one goal and two assists in 18 games played. Eric Staal has a team-leading eight goals and is tied for the team lead with six assists. So this may just be a game to watch how one of the league’s best teams handles the worst team. It has the potential to get ugly for the Wild, especially if the B’s continue to put pucks on net and get help from more than just their top-six.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports Images