As Yogi Berra said, it’s like deja vu all over again. The Boston Bruins meet a familiar opponent today for another afternoon game.
Less than 24 hours after they dropped the puck yesterday, the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks will do battle once again on the ice. It will definitely be an interesting sight to see, given how yesterday’s game went.
For those who missed it, the Bruins were down 4-3 heading into the 3rd period, and scored 4 unanswered goals in the 7-4 win. The Bruins special teams scored 5 goals (4 on the power play, and 1 shorthanded), and there were contributions up and down the lineup. This game was an example of just how deep this team is, which will become dangerous in the playoffs.
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Further, the Bruins offense has been absolutely on fire recently. Over the course of the season, the Bruins have scored 5+ goals 17 times, 6+ goals 9 times, and 7+ goals 4 times. In their most recent 6 game homestand, where they went 6-0-0, they outscored their opponents 30-19.
Now, scoring 5 goals per game is great, but allowing over 3 goals per game is concerning. The defense and goaltending need to tighten up. Right now the Bruins are playing winning hockey, but the type of hockey their playing isn’t playoff hockey.
Who, what, when, and where?
The other thing to keep your eye on is the Blackhawks response to Brad Marchand. Once again, Marchand found himself on the delivering end of a questionable hockey play which left Anthony Duclair injured.
In all honesty, it looked like an innocent, accidental play that had a negative result. Normally, Marchand wouldn’t have been given the benefit of the doubt based upon his history, but it seems like the NHL isn’t going to dive into this one…for once. However, that doesn’t mean that Marchand won’t have a target on his back this afternoon when the puck drops at 12:30 pm at the United Center in Chicago, IL.
That being said, I think it would be wise if Head Coach Bruce Cassidy had the big boys in the lineup today. Perhaps he should sit Brandon Carlo, and play Nick Holden, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller on the right side of the blue line. Then if Chicago feels the need to be extra physical today as a means of retribution, the Bruins will be able to counter.
After Tuukka Rask started yesterday’s game, we’ll see Anton Khudobin in net today. Khudobin, like Rask, has been struggling in net, despite racking up wins. In his last 6 appearances, Khudobin is 4-1-0, but has allowed 17 goals. Losing Charlie McAvoy certainly doesn’t help things, but there needs to be an overall improvement in the defensive zone.