Boston Bruins Causeway gameday! Wings for lunch

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 13: Noel Acciari
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 13: Noel Acciari /

On a busy Saturday in the NHL, the Boston Bruins get the day started with a weekend matinee divisional game.

The NHL is finally starting to recognize that the Boston Bruins are hot.  This past week, the Bruins were selected by writers as one of the NHL’s Super 16 teams, based upon their play.  The Bruins made their first appearance on the list this season at number 13.

Only one of the writers didn’t have the Bruins in the top 16 (Adam Kimelman), but he’s apparently written three books about the Philadelphia Flyers, so he clearly has issues.  I imagine his parents didn’t hug him as a child.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON – DECEMBER 21: Boston Bruins’ Charlie McAvoy is congratulated by teammates including Jake DeBrusk after his game-winning goal in overtime. The Boston Bruins host the Winnipeg Jets in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Dec. 21, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

Last game, the Bruins were able to stymie the offensively gifted Winnipeg Jets.  It took some 3-on-3 overtime and a shootout, but Charlie McAvoy added another tally mark in his Legend Status ledger by scoring the shootout winner.

Tuukka Rask is back, and now fans don’t have to concern themselves with wondering who’s starting in net each game day.  The Bruins are still 3rd in the Atlantic (18-10-5, 41 points), but are picking up ground on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2nd spot.   With three games in hand, the Bruins only trail Toronto by 2 points in the standings.

In the last game before the Christmas break, the Detroit Red Wings (13-14-7, 33 points) come to town today.  The teams met last Wednesday in Detroit.  That game took an overtime session, but a Brad Marchand overtime winner sealed the two points for the Bruins.  It was a snowy night in Detroit and led to the arena being hauntingly empty.  Don’t expect the same today.

Boston Bruins
DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 13: The front of Little Caesars Arena with the snow coming down prior to an NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins on December 13, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) /

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Today’s game (and the Jets and Islanders game I guess) get the Saturday slate started, with puck dropped scheduled for 1:00 pm.  The game at TD Garden in Boston, MA can be found on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

What to watch for

The winter officially arrived the other day, and took some Bruins down with it’s arrival.  David Krejci remains out with an upper body injury.  David Backes missed practice, but due to a personal day, as his wife is expecting the couple’s second child.  Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner, and Riley Nash are all sick, but Cassidy hopes they will all play today.  Morning decisions for all of them.

Adam McQuaid is on the precipice of a return.  He will be a game-time decision today, and he is foaming at the mouth to return.  McQuaid hasn’t played in over two months.  His physicality is unmatched by anyone on the blueline, but his return likely means the demotion of Matt Grzelcyk.  Grzelcyk has performed admirably filling in for McQuaid.   In 15 games, he has 3 points (1-2), and a +7 rating, playing 15:11 per game.

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I imagine Tuukka Rask will be back in net for the Bruins.  Rask is 7-0-1 in his last 8 starts, and has only given up more than two goals on one occasion, the overtime loss to the New York Rangers.  This is the Tuukka Rask who won the Vezina trophy in 2014.

He has a .943 save percentage over his last 9 appearances (8 starts, 1 relief effort), and a 1.50 goals against average.  He may be lacking in the win column at 10-8-3, but his season splits (.916 save percentage and 2.34 GAA) are up there with the league’s elite goalies.