Bruins face one of their toughest tests of the season Monday vs. Jets

Boston looking to get payback for 5-1 loss earlier in the season to Winnipeg
Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins
Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Over the weekend, the Boston Bruins faced off with the Montreal Canadiens and to say they handled them would be putting it mildly, as the Bruins defeated the Canadiens 9-4 on home ice Saturday.

Other than the February 6 matchup with the Vancouver Canucks, Monday night may be one of the biggest matchups of the season for Boston when the Bruins close out their season series with the Winnipeg Jets.

In their previous matchup, the Jets won easily by a score of 5-1. At the time, Boston went into the game sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference (4th-overall in the league), with a record 19-7-6 and Winnipeg was sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference (7th-overall in the league) with a record of 20-9-3.

Since then, both teams have turned their seasons around. The Bruins now sit atop the Eastern Conference (2nd-overall in the league) with a record of 28-8-9, and the Jets are second in the Western Conference (3rd-overall in the league) with a record of 30-10-4.

Reasons the Bruins will win

While both teams are leading their respective divisions, and are having excellent seasons, there are a few reasons Boston will come out on top tonight.

The first reason is goaltending. After going with Linus Ullmark in Saturday's matchup with Montreal, chances are head coach Jim Montgomery will insert All-Star netminder Jeremy Swayman in net tonight. Swayman has played in 25 games, and has won 14 of those games while collecting points in 21 of them. He has also racked up three shutouts on the season so far and holds a career-high .923 SV%.

In fact, in his last five games, the 4th-round pick out of the University of Maine, has either led the Bruins to collecting a point or he has won the game - the latter being the case in his last three.

The second reason they will win the game their special teams. Going into the game, Boston's powerplay has tallied 38 goals on the season, and they have killed of 83.6% of their penalties, good for third and fifth in the league, respectively.

Winnipeg's special teams, are on the complete other side of the spectrum. Their power play sits at the no. 23 spot in the league, and their penalty kill sits at no. 25. Safe to say that the way for the Bruins to beat the Jets tonight, is to get them to commit penalties.

Reasons the Bruins will lose

When Boston has lost this season, it has done so one more time in the overtime period/shootout than in regulation, but when the Bruins have trailed after two periods, they have lost more than twice as often. Which brings me to my first reason they will lose: early scoring.

That, unfortunately, was the case in the last time these two teams met. Winnipeg went up 3-0 after two periods, and continued on with two more in the third period, propeling the Jets to a 5-1 win. Both teams will have to play excellent defense against one another, something that may be harder for Boston with its D-Core playing the way it is right now.

Another reason, the Bruins might lose is the Jets' ability to stay out of the penalty box. The Bruins, have committed the ninth-most penalties in the league with 467 PIM, and their opponents have commited the 27th-least penalties in the league with 362 PIM.

Earlier I mentioned Boston's ability to play well on the man-advantage, but if they aren't able to get to that point, it may be hard to win since that is a bulk of the Bruins scoring.

Prediction: Bruins 4, Jets 3 (OT)