The Boston Bruins have recently been stuck in a rut, winning just two of their last six games. Eventually, the league’s best team would hit some adversity, and it is better to have these bad games in February than in April when contests mean more. Currently, the team is on the road and celebrated a substantial come-from-behind overtime victory in Dallas with their siblings. Who’s next on the schedule? The boys are in Nashville for a music city showdown.
Tonight’s Bruins Game Notes
The Bruins limped into the All-Star Game break with just one win in their final four contests. Unfortunately, the team looked sluggish upon returning to the ice after a week off, dropping their first contest to the Washington Capitals at TD Garden this past Saturday.
Consequently, the recent stretch of losses has had many fans wondering if the team is legitimately a contender for the Stanley Cup or if the first half of the season was just the team exceeding expectations.
Although Jake DeBrusk has been on the ice, practicing with the team and getting in some solo time, he is not ready to return to the lineup. It has become pretty obvious the team misses the energy he brings to the lineup, as they have hit a few snags on the road since his injury in the Winter Classic in early January. Even though the team keeps rolling along, his absence has raised many questions about the lineup, which is a surprise since most of the fan base had hoped that management had fulfilled his request for a trade last year.
Since Linus Ullmark suited up for the win in Dallas, Jeremy Swayman should return to the crease tonight as the goalie rotation continues. Interestingly, the Alaskan native recorded a 42-save shutout in his only career appearance (2021) against the Predators.
Coming into the game, the Bruins are the league’s third-best road team, 18-6-2, while the Predators are the 14th-best home team with a 14-9-3 record. Recently, the Bruins beat the Stars (3-2) on Tuesday, while the Preds lost to the Arizona Coyotes (4-2) on Monday. During their last ten games, Nashville is 6-4-0, and Boston is 6-3-1.
Bruins & Predators Players to Watch
Although the Bruins do not rely on captain Patrice Bergeron to chip in points on a nightly basis, he’s been quiet in the last ten games with just three points, 25 shots, and a plus-one rating. Additionally, in the 16 games since his linemate DeBrusk went down with an injury, he’s collected just eight points, a significant decrease in production from the 30 points he had in the team’s first 37 games.
Lucky for the Bruins, they roll into Nashville to face off against a weakened Predators team, missing their leading goal scorer Filip Forsberg, who is still listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Although the slick Swede has 42 points, tied with Matt Duchesne, the player with the most points is defenseman Roman Josi who has 44 points thus far.
The former James Norris Memorial Trophy winner (2020) is having a subpar season compared to last year, when he set career highs in goals (23), assists (73), and points (96). Moreover, since the team is missing Forsberg, the Preds captain Josi stepped up and tallied one of the team’s two goals in their last contest against Arizona. Historically, he’s totaled 11 points in 17 games against the Bruins with a minus-four rating.
Bruins & Predators Historical Notes
Tonight, the Bruins and Predators will face off for the 34th time, an opportunity for the B’s to improve upon their 18-9-1-5 record against their midwest rivals. Despite a commanding lead in the overall matchup, the Preds remain one of five teams the Bruins have yet to record 100 goals against, leading 95-78 on the scoreboard.
Surprisingly, with a significant lead in the matchup, Boston is just 7-6-0-4 at Bridgestone Arena, actually getting outscored 42-41 in the 17 previous games. Currently, the Bruins have won the last three meetings between the two clubs, their last loss coming on Dec. 21, 2019. Historically, the teams tend to split their meetings, a trend from 2016 to 2019 after the Bruins were swept (two games) during the 2015-16 season.
Who’s Next for the Boston Bruins
After tonight’s contest, the Bruins will head home for a two-game stint, hosting Bo Horvat and the New York Islanders on Saturday. Then, the pesky Ottawa Senators, led by Brady Tkachuk, roll into town for an early Monday afternoon contest.
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