The Boston Bruins are back home after playing in the western time zone for a week, racking up three wins, sweeping through the state of California, and improving the league’s best record by another six points. Furthermore, the last three opponents the B’s have faced will be nothing compared to the two following games on home ice. However, before they get ahead of themselves, tonight’s game against the Seattle Kraken could prove to be their most challenging home ice contest thus far.
Tonight’s Bruins Game Notes
The Bruins scored a season-high seven goals against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, tying their best mark from a game against the Florida Panthers. Currently, the team has 154 goals for the top spot in the category; however, the Kraken is not far behind them with 147 goals, good for fifth in the league standings.
Heading into tonight’s contest, the Bruins are riding a four-game winning streak that started with a win at the Winter Classic, followed by victories over the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks, and the Ducks. Conversely, the Kraken is finishing up a trip through the Eastern Conference and riding a six-game streak with impressive wins over the New York Islanders, the Edmonton Oilers, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Buffalo Sabres. Furthermore, their players are on fire right now, scoring 30 goals during the streak, while their platoon of goalies has only surrendered 11 goals, including earning a shutout against the Canadiens on Monday.
As the number one team in the entire league, the Bruins have faced off against other powerhouse teams like the Vegas Golden Knights, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Maple Leafs, all looking to bring the black and gold down from their porch. Although the B’s have only tasted defeat eight times this season, the Kraken will be one of the most challenging visitors yet. The second-year club has defied the odds, put together a great season, and is in contention for a division title after finishing dead last a year ago.
Tonight’s game will be must-watch TV since the B’s are 19-0-3 at home (ranked first), and the Kraken are the fourth-best road team with an impressive 14-4-2 record. Currently, the B’s are 8-0-2 in their last ten games (ranked first), with the Kraken in second with a 7-2-1 record. Additionally, the two teams flip roles regarding current win streaks, with the Kraken on the league’s longest win streak, six games, and the Bruins in second with four in a row.
Bruins & Kraken Players to Watch
This spot is usually reserved for David Pastrnak, who is on a mission to get to 50 goals in a contract year; however, tonight is a special night for a Bruins prospect, so recent call-up Joona Koppanen will be the player to watch for the hometown team.
The five-year veteran with the Providence Bruins is about to make his National Hockey League (NHL) debut after collecting 19 points in 34 games this season in the American Hockey League (AHL). The Finnish native has been with the baby B’s since 2017-18, and through 215 games, he’s got 32 goals and 45 assists for 77 points.
The Bruins continue to shuffle players in and out of the lineup to make up for the spot left open by Jake DeBrusk, who is out with an injury. Tonight, Koppanen slides into the bottom six and will have this opportunity to audition for a more prominent role for the stretch run or a spot in the lineup next year. Considering the team has shown little to no flaws this season, getting prospects into the lineup is hard when everyone is producing.
Conversely, as a player to watch for the Kraken, the obvious choice tonight is local boy Matty Beniers, born in Hingham, Massachusettes, who is leading his team in scoring. Through 40 games, he’s got 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points and a plus-12 rating. The former second-overall pick from the 2021 Entry Draft is currently on a five-game goal-scoring streak, collecting nine points. Moreover, the league has taken notice of the 20-year-old, who recently earned his first NHL All-Star Game selection.
Bruins & Kraken Historical Notes
The Bruins have played against 37 franchises in their illustrious history and remain undefeated against just one team; the Kraken. Last season, the black and gold won both games 3-2, with the second contest going to overtime and DeBrusk potting the winner just 33 seconds into the extra frame.
Although this rivalry is new, tonight’s game has a lot on the line. Pastrnark has scored in each of the two previous meetings, while Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy have each two-point games against the Kraken. It will be fun to see if Pasta can continue his goal-scoring streak and which new Bruins player will set up and carry on the tradition of grabbing two points. On top of those interesting statistics, Linus Ullmark remains undefeated against the Kraken, sporting a .926 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average.
Who’s Next for the Boston Bruins
If anyone thought the Kraken would be a stubborn opponent tonight, they should be prepared for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who come to town on Saturday for a marquee matchup. Thus far, the Maple Leafs remain the only team to hold the Bruins to just a single goal this year, for a 2-1 loss in early November.