The Boston Bruins continue to reign atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 14-2 record. Last week the team went 4-0 with wins over the St. Louis Blues (3-1), Calgary Flames (3-1), Buffalo Sabres (3-1), and Vancouver Canucks (5-2).
The B’s remain undefeated on TD Garden with a perfect 9-0 record, the best home start in franchise history. This week, they have two opportunities to extend that streak with two games at 100 Legends Way.
Let’s see which teams are coming to town and who to look out for in the Bruins’ upcoming matchups.
Thursday, Nov. 17 @ 7:00 PM vs. Philadelphia Flyers (TD Garden)
The Bruins have historic rivalries with teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens; however, since the Philadelphia Flyers entered the league in 1967, these two teams have despised each other. Although they don’t clean up the blood off the ice as they used to in the 1970s, no love is lost between the two franchises and fanbases.
In 2021-22, the Bruins were victorious in two of the three games with the Flyers, outscoring them 11-10 and winning the Lake Tahoe game, 7-3, on February 21st. Those numbers were a bit down from the previous season when the B’s were 6-2 against their rivals, dominating them on the scoresheet 32-20. Interestingly, the last time the Flyers took a season series from the Bruins was in 2019-20, when they took two out of three.
So far this season, the Bruins are the top team in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division. They rank first overall in goals for and second in goals against. Those numbers are a stark contrast to the Flyers, who rank 31st in the league regarding goals scored, but, thanks to a new coach and system, are the seventh-best team at stopping goals.
A key player to watch for the Flyers is Carter Hart. The 24-year-old goalie has had a bounce-back season with a 6-2-2 record, an impressive 2.18 goals-against-average, and a .937 save percentage. It will be fascinating to watch him on Thursday night because, historically, he’s got some brutal numbers against the Bruins. In 11 games, Hart has a 4-5-2 record with 40 goals against, the worse number amongst any opponent in his career. He’s off to the best start of his career, and this upcoming game will test whether Hart is ready to be in the elite goalie conversation.
Of course, David Pastrnak’s name will pop up in any discussion for Bruins players to watch. He’s one of the most gifted goal scorers in the league and loves to play the Flyers. In 25 games, he’s got 19 goals and 12 assists for 30 points against the club, the second-highest point total against any opponent.
The Flyers and Bruins will meet two more times this season, on Jan. 16, 2023, in Boston and on Apr. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia.
Saturday, Nov. 19 @ 7:00 PM vs. Chicago Blackhawks (TD Garden)
The Chicago Blackhawks come to town for a Saturday night matchup. These two teams met twice in 2021-22, with the Bruins taking both games, extending their win streak to three straight over their opponents from the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Furthermore, the last time the Blackhawks beat the B’s was on Dec. 5, 2019, a 4-3 win in overtime.
These two teams tend to split their two-game regular season matchups, so we have to go back to 2009-10 to find the last time the Bruins dropped two in a row (5-4 and 5-2) to their Windy City rivals. Historically, the B’s are ahead in the all-time matchup, closing in on 600 games, with Saturday night’s tilt being game 595. Boston has a 271-239-79-5 record against Chicago and leads in the scoring 1870-1794.
The Blackhawks have been streaky in 2022-23 with a four-game win streak and a four-game losing streak. They have leveled off recently, dropping to a 6-6-3 record, good enough for fifth place in the Central Division. It is no surprise that the team’s leading scorer is future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane, who has just two goals and ten helpers for 12 points. However, he won’t be the player to watch; that honor goes to Max Domi, who has found a new lease on life in Chicago. He’s got four goals and six assists to tie Jonathan Toews for second in team scoring.
For the Bruins, the Patrice Bergeron milestone watch continues. Sitting at 997 points heading into Thursday’s game against the Flyers, the Bruins captain needs to collect three more points to become the first player since Ray Bourque to collect a thousand points in black and gold. Historically, Bergeron has 27 points in 21 games against the Blackhawks, and with the offense clicking like it is, he could reach the milestone at home before the team embarks on a road trip to Florida next week.
The Bruins travel to Chicago for the final game of the season series on Mar. 14, 2023.
Check next week for another Hub of Hockey Weekly post, where we preview more upcoming Bruins games. Also, don’t forget to follow Causeway Crowd on Twitter for game-day trivia and player-of-the-game polls!