The Boston Bruins opened their season last Wednesday night in the nation’s capital with a 5-2 win over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. It was the first of three meetings on tap this season, so getting a victory out of the gate helps set the tone for future games.
This past Saturday, the B’s hosted the Arizona Coyotes for the season opener at TD Garden and held on for a 6-3 win. The two teams will meet again in December down in Arizona, where the Bruins will look to extend their win streak Bruins beat Coyotes 6-3 for 19th straight win in series (yahoo.com) (19 straight) over the Desert Dog’s organization.
With 80 games left to play, many time zones to cross, and endless hours of practice, let’s look at who the Bruins have on their schedule this week.
Monday, Oct. 17, @ 7:00 pm vs. Florida Panthers at TD Garden
The Bruins continue their mini-home stand, welcoming the Panthers to the Garden in what should be an exciting matchup. Last year, the Bruins and other divisional teams chased the surprising Panthers, who took the division crown with 122 points.
In three head-to-head matchups last season, the Bruins won two on home ice by scores of 4-2 and 3-2 before dropping their only visit to Miami 4-1. Interestingly, Charlie Coyle scored in two games and has ten career points in 19 games against the Panthers.
Linus Ullmark started between the pipes in all three games, improving his record against the Panthers to 7-3-1. It will be interesting to see how head coach Jim Montgomery handles the matchups this season since Jeremy Swayman has never played against the Panthers.
The Bruins lead the all-time matchup 58-36-6-6, outscoring the Panthers 306-267 in their 106 meetings. The two teams will meet again on Nov. 23 down in Miami and in Boston on Dec. 19.
Tuesday, Oct. 18, @ 7:00 pm vs. Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Center
The Bruins jump right into their first back-to-back of 2022-23 with a short flight to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, on Tuesday night. The Senators had a busy offseason retooling their roster in hopes of contending for the first time in a few seasons and won’t be an easy opponent.
Last year, these two teams met on four occasions, with the Bruins winning the season series three games to one. They won the first game 3-2 and followed that up with a 2-0 victory in the second game. A 3-2 overtime win gave them the edge in the matchup before dropping the finale 3-2 in April. Interestingly, David Pastrnak had points in two games and didn’t play in the fourth meeting. In his career, Pasta has feasted on the Senators with 27 points in 21 games.
Since the Senators rejoined the NHL in 1992, the Bruins own an 87-43-8-11 record against their northern rivals. The black and gold have outscored the Sens 472-367 in 149 games. The two teams will meet three more times, in Ottawa on Dec. 27, followed by home games on Feb. 20 and Mar. 21.
Thursday, Oct. 20, @ 7:00 pm vs. Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden
A decade ago, a matchup between the Ducks and Bruins would have been a meaningful contest with all-star lineups facing off. Right now, these two teams are going in opposite directions as the Ducks work hard at staying out of the basement while the Bruins continue to pursue the Stanley Cup.
Despite these two teams’ current paths, the Ducks took both matchups last season, winning 5-3 and 5-4. Considering the Bruins lost points during games they should have won on paper, the team had to settle into the wildcard position for the postseason, drawing a division contender (Carolina Hurricanes) who bounced them in the first round.
Surprisingly, the Bruins have a losing record against the Ducks, 16-20-2-1 in 39 games. Hopefully, Hampus Lindholm can assist his new team with the inner secrets of his old team, who traded him in March 2022. If the Bruins are serious about chasing the Cup in the spring, securing two points against a weaker team (Ducks) will go a long way toward avoiding a longer road to the top of the mountain. The two teams will meet one final time, in Anaheim, on Jan. 8.
Saturday, Oct. 22, @ 1:00 pm vs. Minnesota Wild at TD Garden
The Bruins never do things the easy way, that is, unless it involves the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs. However, on Saturday afternoon, the Garden will be rocking when the Wild comes to town for their only season visit.
The Wild had the second-best record in the Western Conference last season and beat the Bruins in both matchups, 3-2 and 4-2. Their offense, led by Kirill Kaprizov, had three goals in the two contests.
The Minneapolis-based team has been a thorn in the Bruins’ side since joining the league in 2000. Not only have they outscored the black and gold 72-66, but they also have a better record (15-12-0-1) in 28 contests. The expectations are always high when two Stanley Cup-caliber teams lock up, and this sixth game of the season will be no exception.
Last season, Swayman started and lost both games. However, this Saturday, he should be looking to get the start and pick up his first career victory against the Wild. The two teams will meet again on Mar. 18 in Minnesota.
Check back every Monday for another Hub of Hockey Weekly post, where we preview more upcoming Bruins games.