Tag Archives: Boston Bruins

December 4 – Day 53 – Frans will be Frans

For a Sunday, we have a good sampling of games to watch. Montréal visits Los Angeles (RDS) at 3 p.m., followed two hour later by Tampa Bay at Carolina. The final round of matinee games drops the puck at 6 p.m. with two contests (Philadelphia at Nashville [TVAS] and Detroit at the New York Islanders), with Winnipeg at Chicago (SN) waiting until the usual 7 p.m. starting time. Two games share the role of nightcap tonight (Anaheim at Calgary [SN360] and Minnesota at Edmonton [SN1]), dropping the puck at 9:30 p.m. All times eastern.

Up until this season, every single game of Frans Nielsen‘s career was spent wearing blue and orange. This afternoon, he’ll dress in the Barclays Center’s visitor’s locker room for the first time.

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Way back in 2002, New York drafted an 18-year-old that would become the first Dane to play in the NHL. Of course, Nielsen’s career is not marked simply by that.

His tenure with the Islanders was a successful one.  From the time he made his NHL debut in the 2006-07 to last season, he was the third-leading scorer for the Isles, including 230 assists to tie for second-most for the club in that time span.

Nielsen has continued that success in Motown, as his 14 points ties for for second-most for the Red Wings.  Interestingly, he’s taken more of a goal scoring role with his new team, as his six goals are second-most on the team.

Detroit comes to the Barclays Center with an 11-11-3 record, sitting in seventh place in the Atlantic Division. While their new center seems to be a good pickup, the Wings still struggle to score the puck, as their 58 goals ties for eighth-fewest.

Henrik Zetterberg has headlined Detroit‘s offense so far this season with 17 points to his credit, but it’s been sophomore Dylan Larkin completing many of the plays – his eight goals is tops in the Motor City. To put those efforts in perspective, Zetterberg’s 17 points tie for 56th in the league, and Larkin ties for 37th.

As would be expected from the low production, the power play has also suffered. Successful on only 14.9% of opportunities, the Wings are 10th-worst with the man-advantage in the NHL. This has been where Nielsen has truly shone, as his six power play points are a club-best. However, they’ve all be assists, and four skaters (Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Larkin and Thomas Vanek) have two extra-man tallies for the clubhouse lead. Unfortunately, Abdelkader and Helm find themselves on the Wings‘ injured reserve, which has done nothing to help a sputtering offense.

Hosting Nielsen and the Wings this evening are the 9-10-4 Islanders, the worst team in the Eastern Conference. They’ve earned that position by scoring only 58 goals, tying them for eighth-fewest in the NHL.

Don’t tell Captain John Tavares that he’s not supposed to be racking up the points, as he already has 18 to lead his club. In addition, his six goals ties him with Brock Nelson for the scoring-lead in Brooklyn, but once again those numbers need to be put in perspective. 18 points is good enough to only tie for 45th-best in the league, and six goals ties for 84th.

If Detroit‘s power play is bad, New York‘s is definitely worse. Scoring on only 11.8% of man-advantages earns the Islanders second-worst in the NHL, and worst in the conference. Tavares has been the biggest threat with five power play points, two of which are goals.

Before we go any further, we need to clear something up. Not everybody is going to be a Sidney Crosby or Patrik Laine goal scorer (their 16 goals are the league benchmark), nor are many going to match Connor McDavid‘s impressive 34 points. I get that. But it’s the fact that these skaters for both clubs – Larkin, Nelson, Tavares and Zetterberg – are the ones leading their respective clubs. If they’re the best the club has to offer, what does that mean for the guys behind them?

And that, my dear children, is how you get anemic offenses.

Some players to keep an eye on include Detroit‘s Zetterberg (12 assists among 17 points [both lead the team]) and New York‘s Tavares (12 assists among 18 points [both lead the team]).

In a game that I would have assumed to be a pick-’em, Vegas has marked the home Isles as the -145 favorite. The main reason I’ll stick with the odds-makers’ prediction is that Detroit not only played yesterday, but had to travel from Pittsburgh, while New York hasn’t played in three days and is riding a three-game winning streak.

Hockey Birthday

  • Montréal Canadiens (1909-) – The oldest active hockey club in the world predates their own league.
  • Alex Delvecchio (1931-) – This center played an incredible 1549 games over 24 seasons with Detroit, hoisting the Stanley Cup three times. Fats was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977.
  • Rick Middleton (1953-) – Nifty played right wing for 1005 games over his 14-season career, most of which with Boston. Although he never won a title, he was thrice named an All-Star.
  • Dave Taylor (1955-) – Another right wing, he was drafted by Los Angeles in the 1975 NHL Entry Draft. He played 1111 games over his 17-season career, and his number 18 hangs in the Staples Center’s rafters.
  • Jassen Cullimore (1972-) – Although the 29th-overall selection in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by Vancouver, this defenseman spent most of his days in Tampa Bay – including that team that won the 2004 Stanley Cup.

I expected a tight contest in yesterday’s Game of the Day, and that’s what we got when Boston beat Buffalo 2-1.

The lone goal of the first period was struck with 5:50 remaining in the frame, belonging to David Krejci (Brandon Carlo and David Backes) and the Bruins.

Patrice Bergeron (Second Star of the Game David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand) doubled Boston‘s score 7:44 into the third frame with a backhander. Third Star Evander Kane (Sam Reinhart) buried his first goal of the season 1:28 later, but the Sabres could not manage another tally to complete the comeback.

First Star Tuukka Rask saved 35-of-36 (97.2%) shots faced to earn the victory, leaving the loss to Robin Lehner, who saved 31-of-33 (93.9%).

Even though Boston won, the home teams still have a three-point lead over the visitors in the DtFR Game of the Day series with their 29-19-7 record.

December 3 – Day 52 – Jack is Back

As usual, Saturday hosts a busy NHL schedule, and with college football getting out of the way, you can pay even more attention to the multiple day games! Three of those matinees start at 1 p.m (Boston at Buffalo [SN], Carolina at the New York Rangers and Chicago at Philadelphia [NHLN]), followed an hour later by New Jersey at Nashville. Five contests begin at the usual 7 p.m. starting time (Toronto at Vancouver [CBC], Winnipeg at St. Louis [SN], Florida at Ottawa [CITY/TVAS], Washington at Tampa Bay and Detroit at Pittsburgh [NHLN]), trailed an hour later by Columbus at Arizona. Dallas at Colorado finds its start at 9 p.m., with tonight’s nightcap, Anaheim at Edmonton (CBC/SN) dropping the puck 60 minutes later. All times eastern.

Short list:

  • Boston at Buffalo: This rivalry has existed almost as long as the Sabres. Tonight’s edition will look far different than November’s meeting, as Jack Eichel is back on the ice.
  • Detroit at Pittsburgh: Back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals bouts in 2008 and 2009 between these clubs sparked this rivalry, but it’s died down in recent years.

Clubs joined simply by conference are no match for a rivalry shared within a division. To KeyBank Arena we go!

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In the white corner are the visiting Bruins. At 13-10-1, they’re the fourth-best team in the Atlantic Division. They’ve gotten to that position with some excellent defense and goaltending, which has allowed only 53 goals – the sixth-fewest in the NHL.

Although four netminders have taken to the crease for the Bruins, 12-4-1 Tuukka Rask has always been the man in charge. His 17 starts leads the club, as do his .938 save percentage and 1.64 GAA that rank fourth and best, respectively, among his peers with nine or more appearances.

Part of the reason he’s been able to find such success is because of the team playing in front of him and their improvement from a year ago. Last season, the Bruins blueline allowed 30.4 shots-per-game to reach Rask, tying for the 11th-highest rate in the league. Nowadays, Boston is home to the fourth-best defense, allowing only 27.3 shots-against-per-game.

Rookie Brandon Carlo has headlined that turnaround, already notching 42 blocks in his debut season. Zdeno Chara also deserves credit, as his 41 deflections were accumulated in only 19 games, but the Bruins‘ captain will not be available today with a lower body injury suffered a week and a half ago. Boston is 2-4 since he sustained the injury.

The defensive success has carried into the penalty kill, where the Bruins‘ 85.4% kill rate is second-best in the Eastern Conference, fifth-best overall. Carlo continues his good work on the special teams, leading the club with 14 shorthanded shot blocks.

Where Boston hasn’t been impressive is the power play. Successful on only 14.7% of attempts, the Bruins are eighth-worst in the NHL. That effort is headlined by by David Krejci and David Pastrnak, who both have five extra-man points. Pastrnak’s effort has been more impressive, as his four power play goals lead the squad.

Hosting them this evening are the 9-9-5 Sabres, who are winners of their last two contests. Buffalo has been held back by their offense so far with the fewest goals in the league (47), but help comes in the form of a sophomore center.

So far this season, Kyle Okposo has led the team with 16 points, and has paired with Matt Moulson for the Sabres‘ scoring title with seven goals. But things changed Tuesday when Eichel exchanged his boot for skates and a stick. In only two games, he’s notched four goals – yes, four – to average the best points-per-game average in the league. I don’t know if he’ll be able to maintain that blistering pace of two points per game, but averaging even half that effort would currently tie him for seventh-best average in the league.

Eichel has rejoined an impressive power play. Ranking fourth-best in the NHL, Buffalo has converted 23.4% of their man-advantages. It’s been in this situation where Okposo has earned his paycheck, as he’s notched 11 power play points to lead the team. Moulson has also been very impressive by leading the team with six extra-man tallies.

While Eichel will help the Sabres‘ offense, he isn’t going to do much for a penalty kill that ranks worst in the conference and second-worst in the league. Even with Josh Gorges‘ 14 shorthanded blocks, Buffalo has neutralized only 76.6% of their penalties. They don’t commit many infractions, so the play on the ice in those two minutes will need to improve for the Sabres to be considered a real threat to qualify for the playoffs.

These two have already once this season, a little under a month ago. Boston easily handled the Sabres at the TD Garden, winning 4-0.

Some players to keep an eye on this afternoon include Boston‘s Pastrnak (13 goals [tied for third-most in the league] for a +13 [fourth-best in the NHL]) and Rask (1.64 GAA [best in the league] for three shutouts [tied for second-most in the NHL] in 12 wins [tied for third-most in the league] on a .938 save percentage [fourth-best in the NHL]) & Buffalo‘s Anders Nilsson (.934 save percentage [tied for fifth-best in the league]).

Vegas has marked Buffalo as a +126 underdog in today’s game, but I don’t know if it’s even that extreme. While each club has a good and bad special team, they line up against each other well in this matchup such that a poor power play is going against a poor penalty kill, and vice versa.

I actually like Buffalo to pull off the home upset, but one thing I do know is this game will not be a four-goal shutout like their last meeting.

Hockey Birthday

  • Igor Larionov (1960-) – This center might have been drafted by Vancouver in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, but he spent far more of his 14 seasons in Detroit, where he won the Stanley Cup three times.
  • Mike Ramsey (1960-) – The 11th-overall pick in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft belonged to Buffalo, and they drafted this defenseman. He played 911 games over 14 seasons with the Sabres.
  • Jiri Bicek (1978-) – Selected by New Jersey in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, this right wing. Although he played in only four seasons with the Devils‘ senior squad, he did appear in five Stanley Cup playoff games to help Jersey to the 2003 title.

Although the Wild was able to score a game-tying goal in the third period, they weren’t able to win the shootout as Calgary won 3-2.

Minnesota actually took credit for the first goal of the game. Only 3:50 after starting play, Chris Stewart (Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter) deflected a shot to put the Wild on the board first. The Flames leveled the score with 7:34 remaining in the frame when Kris Versteeg (Jyrki Jokipakka and Sean Monahan) buried a backhanded shot. Only 1:07 later, First Star of the Game Mikael Backlund (Third Star Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Giordano) scored on a power play backhander to give Calgary the lead going into the first intermission.

The last goal of regulation belonged to Second Star Mikko Koivu (Jason Zucker and Spurgeon), a slap shot 7:40 into the final frame that eventually forced a scoreless three-on-three overtime.

The Wild took the first shootout attempt…

  1. Nino Niederreiter went first for Minnesota, but all he found was Chad Johnson‘s pads.
  2. Versteeg scored a game in regulation, and the success continued in the shootout, putting the Flames up 1-0.
  3. Jason Pominville held serve for the Wild, but Calgary still had a shot in hand…
  4. …that Monahan buried to return the lead to the Flames.
  5. Charlie Coyle ended up being the last shootout participant, as his attempt was stopped by Johnson to secure the victory.

Johnson saved 23-of-25 (92%) shots faced to earn the victory, leaving the shootout loss to Devan Dubnyk, who saved 29-of-31 (93.5%).

Calgary‘s victory continues the winning way of the home squads, improving the hosts’ record to 29-18-7 in the DtFR Game of the Day series, leading the roadies by five points.

December 2 – Day 51 – Wildfires usually aren’t fun, but this one is an exception

Congratulations! You made it through the work week! You know what you deserve? Hockey.

Unfortunately, there’s only two games occurring this evening, and the action doesn’t start until 9 p.m. with Minnesota visiting Calgary. An hour and a half later, the second game – Montréal at San Jose (RDS) – drops the puck. All times eastern.

Tonight is the night our Minnesota fans have been waiting for: their Wild are finally being featured in the DtFR Game of the Day!

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Making their first of two visits to the Saddledome this season are the 11-8-3 Minnesota Wild, good enough to currently occupy third place in the Central Division. They’ve gotten to that position with excellent play from their goaltending, which allows the fewest goals in the league (46).

Devan Dubnyk has been nothing short of incredible this season. He’s only earned a 9-6-2 record over his 17 starts, but his record is not indicative of how well he’s played. His .946 save percentage and 1.66 GAA both rank second-best in the league among all goaltenders with nine or more appearances.

His exemplary play has been necessary, because Minnesota‘s blueline has not done much to help him. So far this season, they’ve allowed opponents to fire an average of 31.1 shots per game, the ninth-highest in the NHL. Jared Spurgeon‘s 39 blocks leads the team, but him and Jonas Brodin are the only two skaters for the Wild that have more than 30 blocks to their credit.

Hosting the Wild this evening are the 11-13-2 Flames, who currently sit in fifth place in the Pacific Division. The main reason Calgary has not found success this season has been their poor goaltending and defense, which has allowed 76 goals already – the third-most in the NHL.

Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson have split time between the pipes almost perfectly this year – separated by only 5:33 – at 13 starts apiece. Johnson has certainly found more success, earning a 8-4-1 record on a .93 save percentage and 2.06 GAA – the t-ninth and 10th-best effort among the 48 netminders with seven or more appearances.

Part of the reason Johnson has been able to play so well has been due to the defense playing in front of him. The Flames have allowed an average of only 29.5 shots against per game, the ninth-fewest in the league. That effort has been headlined by Mark Giordano, who has 64 blocks to his credit, the second-most in the entire league.

The defensive Achilles heel for Calgary has been on the penalty kill. Giordano’s 20 shorthanded blocks lead not only the Flames, but also the entire league, but it hasn’t done much to improve a 77.3% kill rate, tied for third-worst in the NHL.

It’s frightening, but the penalty kill has actually been the better of the two special teams. The Flames‘ power play is worst in the league, successful on only 10.1% of opportunities. Dennis Wideman has done his best to lead the man-advantage with four power play points, including two goals, but he’s one of only 11 skaters who have earned a point under those circumstances. It goes without saying that the Flames need to work on this aspect of their game if they want to return to their 2014-’15 form.

These squads have already met up once this year, with Calgary notching a 1-0 victory at the Xcel Energy Center. Gaudreau took credit for the lone tally.

Some players to keep an eye on tonight include Calgary‘s Johnson (three shutouts [tied for second-most in the league] on a 2.06 GAA and a .93 save percentage [both 10th-best in the NHL]) & Minnesota‘s Dubnyk (four shutouts [most in the league] on a 1.66 GAA and a .946 save percentage [both second-best in the NHL]) and Jason Zucker (+12 [tied for fifth-best in the league]).

It’s never a good sign for the home team when they have a line with a plus, but that’s the case this evening. I agree with Vegas’ prediction, based mostly on Calgary‘s ineptitude on special teams. Although Minnesota‘s effort on either the power play or the penalty kill does not dazzle, it should be more than enough to hold the Flames at bay.

Hockey Birthday

  • Rich Sutter (1963-) – This Sutter brother was drafted 10th-overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft by Pittsburgh, but his longest tenure with a club was from 1986-’90 with Vancouver.
  • Ron Sutter (1963-) – The ’82 Draft treated this Sutter a little better, as he was picked fourth-overall by, go figure, the Flyers. Nothing like a little sibling rivalry, especially between twins. Unlike Rich, Ron spent much of his career with the club that drafted him.
  • Sergei Zholtok (1972-2004) – This center was the 55th-overall pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, but he played 210 of his 588 career games (35.7%) with Minnesota. Unfortunately, the Latvian’s life was cut short by cardiac arrhythmia.

Edmonton absolutely dominated the second period to seal a 6-3 victory over the Jets in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

The scoring started only shortly after the game did. Bryan Little (Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford) waited only 35 seconds before scoring his first goal of the season. 1:56 later, Mark Letestu (First Star of the Game Leon Draisaitl and Andrej Sekera) pulled the Oil even at one-all with a power play goal. Winnipeg resumed the lead with 9:46 remaining in the opening frame with a power play goal of their own, courtesy of rookie Third Star Patrik Laine (Toby Enstrom and Nikolaj Ehlers). The Jets held that 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Quick scoring seemed to be the theme of the night, as Draisaitl (Milan Lucic and Second Star Connor McDavid) buried a power play wrister to tie the game for Edmonton. The Oilers took their first lead of the night – a lead they would not yield – only 4:15 later when Letestu (Lucic and McDavid) buried yet another power play wrister. Patrick Maroon (Zack Kassian and Letestu) takes credit for the game-winning goal, as he buried a wrist shot with 8:17 remaining in the second period to give Edmonton a 4-2 lead going into the second intermission.

Another quick goal was struck in the final frame by Laine (Dustin Byfuglien and Wheeler) at the 1:44 mark, but it was all the Jets could muster for their comeback attempt. Draisaitl (McDavid and Adam Larsson) and Benoit Pouliot (Sekera and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) notched two insurance goals for the Oil to seal the victory.

Cam Talbot earned the victory after saving 22-of-25 (88%)shots faced, leaving the loss for Connor Hellebuyck, who saved 23-of-29 (79.3%). He was replaced after Pouliot’s goal by Michael Hutchinson, who saved all four shots he faced for no decision.

The road teams have been staging quite the comeback in the DtFR Game of the Day series, earning 11 points in the last seven games. That being said, the home squads still have the advantage with their 28-18-7 record, leading the visitors by four points.

Boston Through 20

By: Nick Lanciani

Hey guys, below you’ll see a look at my current projections for Boston Bruins skaters and goaltenders through 20 games into the season. Compared with the projections entering this season, David Pastrnak is a bright spot for the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron is off to a slow start (and that will affect his season totals) and well, they’re a team that’s capable of being the team that they currently are (outside of a playoff spot).

If you’re big into plus-minus, then you might want to look away from my Boston projections for their remaining 62 games (okay 61 now technically, with their loss to Calgary on Friday night, but that game was not included in any of my calculations).

I’ll have an updated look at how the B’s are progressing through 40 games played when the time comes. Likewise, I’ll have a look at the Arizona Coyotes through 20 games, hopefully in the next few days (if not, it’s because I’m busy presenting my Corsi capstone project— wish me luck, I guess).

And as I always write:

“Keep in mind, every stat is based off of a player’s entire career and may not reflect well with the other stats projected for this current season (a.k.a. goals + assists might not equal the number of points shown in the points category), because again, each stat is forecasted individually.

Italics indicates a player currently with their respective AHL affiliate. Underlined player stats indicate a player on the IR (which, admittedly, I’ll do my best to keep up with, but might not have perfect every time, so forgive me if I mistakenly label an injury or fail to label one entirely).”

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Boston Bruins Projections- Through game 20 of 82

Bruins forwards

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Bruins goalies

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Corsi for% projections for Boston roster skaters

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November 25 – Day 44 – Broadway vs Broad Street

Get out of your turkey coma or home from your Black Friday shopping, because we have tons of hockey to keep an eye on today! The action gets started early at 1 p.m. with the New York Rangers at Philadelphia (NBC), followed three hours later by a trio of contests (Chicago at Anaheim [NHLN/SN], the New York Islanders at San Jose and Pittsburgh at Minnesota). 5 p.m. marks the puck drop of Buffalo at Washington, trailed an hour later by Winnipeg at Nashville (TVAS). 7:30 is the starting time for three matchups (Calgary at Boston, Columbus at Tampa Bay and Detroit at New Jersey), followed an hour later by Vancouver at Dallas. Finally, tonight’s nightcap, Edmonton at Arizona, drops the puck at 9 p.m. All times eastern.

There’s only one rivalry today, so lets head to Philly!

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All NBC has done for the last week plus is promote this game, so it’d better be good. I think it will be, as these are the top-two offenses in the NHL, combining for 149 total scores.

The 14-6-1 Rangers are the best team in the Atlantic Division. As hinted at before, the offense has led the way with 82 goals to their credit, tops in the league.

Who better to headline the red, white and blue than two Americans? Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller pair to co-lead the forwards, both with 18 points to their credit. Most of those points have been assists, so Michael Grabner has picked up the slack by scoring the puck a dozen times, best in the Big Apple.

Whether that success as sparked the power play or vice versa, the Rangers are seventh-best playing against a short-handed team. They’re successful on 22.2% of their attempts and were led by Mika Zibanejad and his five power play points before the center broke his leg Sunday. That leaves Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Brandon Pirri and Derek Stepan to lead the charge with four power play points apiece, with Nash and Pirri scoring three man-advantage goals apiece.

Winning ways lends itself to more winning ways. New York‘s penalty kill is also pretty envious, successfully defending 86.2% of their infractions to rank sixth-best in the NHL.

Hosting them this afternoon are the 9-9-3 Philadelphia Flyers. Even though the offense has been good, Philly has been held back by their lackluster goaltending that has allowed 70 goals already this year, the second-most in the league.

The Flyers‘ netminder is 5-7-0 Steve Mason, who has a .893 save percentage and 3.04 GAA to his credit – the fifth and 13th-worst, respectively, marks among the 44 goaltenders with seven or more appearances to their credit.

Unfortunately for Mason, he must take credit for his numbers, because the defense playing in front of him has been fairly good. Led by Radko Gudas‘ 44 blocks, Philly‘s blueline has allowed only 27.7 shots against per game, the sixth-fewest in the league.

Making matters worse, Michal Neuvirth injured his groin severely enough on November 11 to send him to the injured reserve list. Backup Anthony Stolarz has yet to see NHL ice in his young career, but does have a 36-33-11 record over his three AHL seasons. While I don’t expect him to see time today, he will need to be called on soon to give Mason rest.

As would be expected, Philadelphia‘s penalty kill has suffered the same fate as at even-strength. Successful on only 80.3% of their kill attempts, Philly ranks eighth-worst in the NHL when down a man.

Instead, they’ve put all their special teams efforts into the power play. Led by Claude Giroux‘ 10 power play points, the Flyers score on 25.7% of their man-advantages to rank second-best in the league. Don’t let Giroux’ efforts distract you from Wayne Simmonds though, as he’s scored five of the Flyers‘ 19 power play goals.

The rivalry between these clubs is almost as long as the Flyers‘ existence. Philadelphia is, of course, the first expansion team to hoist the Stanley Cup, but history was actually made the series before they earned the hardware. A “Second Six” club had never beat an Original Six franchise until Philly bested the Blueshirts in the semifinals of the 1974 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Whether that makes Boston‘s defeat in the Finals more or less painful is still up for discussion.

All-time, this series is knotted at 151-151-37, but Philadelphia has the playoff series advantage, winning six of 11 postseason meetings. That being said, the Rangers won the most recent playoff meeting in the 2014 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with a 2-1 Game 7 victory.

Some players to keep an eye on this afternoon include New York‘s Dan Girardi (+12 [tied for fourth-best in the league]), Grabner (+19 [best in the NHL] on 12 goals [tied for second-most in the league]), Hayes (+15 [third-best in the NHL]), Captain Ryan McDonagh (+12 [tied for fourth-best in the league]) and, on the off-chance he plays, Antti Raanta (.934 save percentage [tied for ninth-best in the NHL]) & Philadelphia‘s Simmonds (10 goals [tied for seventh-most in the league]).

Even though they’re on the road, Vegas favors the Rangers in today’s contest. I’m comfortable with that pick. Since both teams have potent offenses, it boils down to a goalie dual: Henrik Lundqvist vs Mason. I’ll take the Swede any day.

Hockey Birthday

  •  Eddie Shore (1902-1985-) – A defenseman that spent all but 10 of his 550 NHL games with Boston, he hoisted the Stanley Cup twice. Visitors to the TD Garden can see his No. 2 hung in the rafters.
  • Gilbert Delorme (1962-) – The 18th-overall selection in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft by Montréal, this defenseman played 541 games over his nine-year career with five different clubs.
  • Magnus Arvedson (1971-) – This left wing played seven NHL seasons, most of which with Ottawa. He had a phenomenal sophomore season, notching 47 points.
  • John-Michael Liles (1980-) – Another defenseman, he was traded to Boston at last season’s deadline from Carolina. That being said, most of his NHL days have been spent in Colorado.

Ottawa has been featured three times in the DtFR Game of the Day series, and with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Bruins, they improve their series record to 3-0-0.

With 11 seconds remaining in the first period, David Pastrnak (Matt Beleskey and Brad Marchand) capitalized on a power play opportunity with a backhander to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

The Senators pulled even with 6:37 remaining in the second period with a First Star of the Game Mark Stone (Mike Hoffman and Dion Phaneuf) wrister. It was the lone goal of the middle frame, setting up an exciting third period.

Only 6:28 after returning to the ice, Ottawa notched their winning goal with a Chris Wideman wrister, and an insurance goal 3:48 later from Second Star Kyle Turris (Bobby Ryan) sealed the Sens‘ victory.

Third Star Craig Anderson notches another victory after saving 19-of-20 shots faced (95%), leaving Tuukka Rask with the loss, saving 23-of-26 (88.5%).

Ottawa‘s home victory sets the DtFR Game of the Day series at 25-14-7, favoring the hosts by nine points over the roadies.

November 24 – Day 43 – I’m thankful for hockey

On behalf of Down the Frozen River, allow me to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. Unless you’re Canadian, because I’m 43 days late.

Oops.

All I’ve heard this week is about how Thanksgiving is about food, family and football. While these things may be true, you and I both know they’re missing one vital thing: hockey. Luckily for us, the NHL has us covered with two games tonight – Carolina at Montréal (NHLN/RDS/SN360) and Boston at Ottawa (RDS2). Both drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. eastern time.

One game is between two quality Atlantic Division rivals. The other features the team fifth from the bottom in the Eastern Conference standings. You tell me which one we’re watching.

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Welcome to the Canadian Tire Centre the 11-8-0 Boston Bruins, a team that has been led by their defense and goaltending so far this season, which is surprising giving last season’s effort.

At 228 goals, the Bruins allowed the 12th-most goals against in the league last year. This season, they allow only 2.32 per game – the fifth-best rate in the NHL. That success starts with 11-3-0 Tuukka Rask, who has a 1.57 GAA on a .942 save percentage, the third and sixth-best effort, respectively, among the 44 netminders with seven or more appearances.

Part of the reason Rask has found such success is the blueline playing in front of him. He has faced only 27.3 shots per game this year, the fourth fewest in the league. In comparison, the Bruins allowed 30.4 a season ago. That three-shot improvement has been headlined by Captain Zdeno Chara‘s 41 blocks, trailed closely by rookie Brandon Carlo‘s 38. A defensive specialist, the youngster has been a fantastic call-up effectively straight from the juniors (he played only six games at the end of the year in Providence).

As could be expected, the Bruins‘ defensive success has carried to the penalty kill, where they tie for seventh-best in the league with a 85.7% success rate.

Where Boston falters is on the power play. Led by David Krejci‘s five power play points (even though David Pastrnak has three goals on the man-advantage), the Bruins rank ninth-worst in the NHL with the man-advantage, as they’re successful on only 14.8% of their attempts.

The 11-7-0 Senators are the third-best team in the Atlantic Division, and just like Boston, I’ve been most impressed with their defense and goaltending, as they’ve only allowed 49 goals against, which ties for 11th-fewest in the NHL.

9-4-0 Craig Anderson has been the man between the pipes most often for the Sens, earning a .928 save percentage for a 2.32 save percentage – the 11th and 17th-best effort among those 44 goaltenders mentioned earlier with seven or more appearances.

In comparison to Rask, it doesn’t seem like he’s anywhere near as successful. But that’s too easy an answer. Anderson faces 31.6 shots-per-game, the sixth-highest rate in the NHL, and second-highest among clubs that would qualify for the playoffs if they started today. To put it plainly, this blueline simply is not cutting it. The top-three defensemen (Cody Ceci [42], Captain Erik Karlsson [53] and Dion Phaneuf [41]) may have over 40 blocks to their credit, but the rest of the team has yet to break the 24-block mark. Their efforts need to improve soon, or else General Manager Pierre Dorion may be forced to make a move if he wants his team to qualify for the postseason.

One facet of the game where Ottawa certainly has the advantage is on their penalty kill. Pairing with Boston‘s poor power play, Ottawa has the fourth-best penalty kill, nullifying 86.4% of their infractions. Of course, Jean-Gabriel Pageau remains a scoring threat on the penalty kill, as he had nine short-handed points last season to lead the league.

Boston regains the advantage when the Senators earn the power play. Led by Mike Hoffman‘s two power play goals, Ottawa has found the back of the net on only 10.5% of their extra-man attacks – the second-worst rate in the league.

Some players to keep an eye on include Boston‘s Chara (+12 [tied for fourth-best in the NHL]), Pastrnak (10 goals [tied for seventh-most in the league]) and Rask (11 wins [tied for most in the NHL], including three shutouts [tied for second-most in the league], on a 1.57 GAA [third-best in the NHL] and a .942 save percentage [seventh-best in the league]) & Ottawa‘s Anderson (two shutouts [tied for fifth-most in the NHL] among nine wins [tied for eighth-most in the league]).

This should be a fantastic game, and not just because the other game probably won’t be as good. Vegas doesn’t have a line marked for this one, but I’m favoring the Bruins to pull off the road upset.

Hockey Birthday

  • Keith Primeau (1971-) – This center was the third-overall pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by Detroit. In 2000, his first season in Philadelphia, he ended the longest overtime playoff game in NHL history by burying a game at the 92:01 mark. Yes, you read that right: that’s over a game-and-a-half of play.
  • Christian Laflamme (1976-) – A defenseman, he was drafted 45th-overall in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft by Chicago, where he spent most of his eight seasons.

I expected New York to put the whipping on the Penguins at Madison Square Garden, but the opposite happened, with Pittsburgh winning 6-1.

The lone goal of the first period was the only shot that got past Matthew Murray. 4:22 into the game, Rick Nash (Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello) scored a power play wrister to give the Blueshirts an early lead.

The Penguins began their five-goal second period onslaught only 2:02 after returning to the ice with a wrist shot from Scott Wilson (Second Star of the Game Phil Kessel and Third Star Nick Bonino). 2:56 later, First Star Sidney Crosby (Ian Cole) gave Pittsburgh a lead they would not yield.

Kessel (Bonino), Crosby (Kris Letang) and Conor Sheary (Crosby and Carl Hagelin) all added insurance goals in the second, and Matt Cullen (Justin Schultz and Eric Fehr) notched another in the third.

Murray earns the victory after saving 16-of-17 shots faced (94.1%), while Henrik Lundqvist takes the loss, saving 13-of-17 (76.5%). He was replaced following Crosby’s second goal after 32:57 of play by Antti Raanta, who saved 19-of-21 (90.5%) for no decision.

Pittsburgh‘s victory is the fourth-straight for the visiting teams in the DtFR Game of the Day series. It pulls the roadies within seven points of the homers, who have a 24-14-7 record.

Celebrating the Centennial

By: Nick Lanciani

I’ve got a few hours before I have to hop on a plane for Thanksgiving, so I figured I’d write about my thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings Centennial Classic jerseys that were unveiled on Monday.

Toronto is hosting Detroit outdoors on January 1, 2017, so I’ll talk about their jersey first.

Overall, nice job Toronto. You pulled off another successful look outdoors while paying homage to your franchise’s history (note the stylized “T” on the pants, reminiscent of their days as the Toronto Arenas).

A lot of sports writers take issue with the white logo on the white stripe, which, granted isn’t perfect, fits you well as a fresh take on an age-old jersey style that dates back to the days of actual sweaters (the striping pattern, not the white-on-white logo). Way back in the day, the Toronto St. Pats had a look similar to this design, except their colors were green and white, instead of blue and white.

Look up the early history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s a convoluted oasis of trying to figure out a brand identity, almost being bought and moved to Philadelphia, as well as finally figuring it out and settling on the Maple Leafs moniker in 1927 and sticking to it.

This jersey is an excellent representation of the early days of Toronto’s franchise if you really look into it. The only thing I take exception to are the socks. They just seem kind of bland for a team that usually has extravagant striping patterns on their socks.

All I’m saying is give these jerseys a chance. Especially compared to Detroit’s look for the Centennial Classic. Let me put it this way, Toronto, I hope you win on January 1st. Detroit, I hope you lose every last outdoor game you ever play in.

Here’s my analysis:

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GIF via Ride the Pine

Hopefully you can’t read lips.

But seriously Detroit, what the h-e-double hockey sticks.

I don’t mind you trying to honor your franchise’s 11 Stanley Cups, but that silver stripe just isn’t cutting it for me, especially when the rest of your jersey lacks more pizazz than a candy cane.

There’s virtually nothing that ties this jersey to the sweaters from the days of yore when the Red Wings were the Detroit Cougars or the Detroit Falcons. Whereas Toronto focused on emphasizing elements of their past, Detroit seems focused on showing off where the future looks of the sport might go (and if this is it, I’ll gladly pass, thanks).

I’m a fan of the cut of this jersey. Ever since the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens brought back a more sweater-like design to the modern jersey aesthetic and materials, I’m very much a fan of going old style for an outdoor game. It’s a once in a lifetime experience (despite however many outdoor games a year your team is in— I’m looking at you, Chicago) for the players and the fans, so every team should have the green light to this design of a jersey for such a special event.

Having said that, you’ve got to pull it off right. And frankly Detroit, you missed the net. You Patrik Stefan-ed it.

The Red Wings had good outdoor jerseys for the 2009 and 2014 Winter Classics, but since then, their outdoor gear hasn’t lived up to the status of such a legendary organization that prides itself on tradition and doing next to nothing to change the look of their jerseys (they’ve used the same styling at home and on the road since the 2007 Reebok Edge design).

In conclusion, I’m still probably going to watch this game, because I’m a sucker for outdoor hockey and honoring the heritage of the world’s greatest sport.

November 14 – Day 33 – Selections are Slim

Here’s the list of tonight’s games. Hopefully your team is playing.

  • Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders – 7 p.m. eastern – TVAS
  • Dancing with the Stars -8 p.m. eastern – ABC
  • The Voice – 8 p.m. eastern – NBC
  • Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants – 8:30 p.m. eastern – ESPN
  • Scorpion – 10 p.m. eastern – CBS

So… yeah… there’s a not a whole lot of hockey action going on this evening…

But hey, it makes my decision-making process much easier!

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This will be Tampa Bay‘s first time being featured in the Game of the Day, while New York is making their fourth appearance.

Tampa enters tonight’s game with a 8-6-1 record, good enough for fourth in the Atlantic Division. What impresses me about the Lightning so far this season is their offense, which has 45 goals to its credit.

Who else to lead the Bolts than Steven Stamkos? He’s appeared in all 15 games played this season, and has 17 points to his credit to lead the team. Eight of those points have been goals, which also leads the club.

Much of Tampa Bay‘s success has been found on the power play. Led by Nikita Kucherov and Stamkos’ seven power play points, their 25.4% success ranks fourth-best in the league.

The counterpart to the power play has been equally as successful. Tampa‘s penalty kill ranks eight-best in the league, neutralizing 86% of their infractions for only six extra man-tallies against.

The 5-7-3 Islanders wishes they were in the Bolts‘ position. They are the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference, due in most part to their lackluster defense and goaltending.

Jaroslav Halak has started 10 games en route to a 3-4-3 record. So far this season he’s played to a .907 save percentage and three GAA, which ranks 21st and 24th among the 35 goaltenders with seven games played.

While Halak and backup Thomas Greiss have left much to be desired after two-straight postseason appearances, they cannot shoulder all the blame. Together they’ve faced 475 shots (31.7 per game), 33 more than the average goaltender, or 2.2 per game. Although led by Johnny Boychuk‘s 2.8 blocks per game, no other Islanders have more than 40 blocks to their credit, leaving their netminders to get peppered.

As would be expected from a team with issues at and behind the blue line, New York has struggled on the penalty kill. Their 78% kill rate is sixth-worst in the NHL.

Offensively, the Isles have also struggled with their power play. Even with John Tavares‘ team-leading three power play points (perhaps that is the best indicator of their success), New York has scored on only 11.4% of their man-advantages.

Tonight’s game is the completion of the three-game regular season series between these clubs, that only just began 13 days ago. Tampa Bay has won both the previous two games by a combined 10-2 score, including a 6-1 victory on this surface on the first day of the month.

Of course, this year’s series is only a recap of their Eastern Semifinal showdown in May. If you’ll remember, the Lightning came out the winners in that series, with the Isles winning only Game 1 before Tampa Bay took the following four contests.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include New York‘s Dennis Seidenberg (+10 [leads the team]) and Tavares (five goals for 12 points [both lead the team]) & Tampa Bay‘s Stamkos (17 points [tied for fifth-most in the league] on eight goals [tied for seventh-most in the NHL]) and, should he play, Andrei Vasilevskiy (two GAA [seventh-best in the league] and .932 save percentage [10th-best in the NHL]).

The home squad has a +125 next to their name, which is never a good sign for fans wearing blue and orange. I’m siding with Vegas in this one, as Tampa leads the Isles in almost all statistics in addition to having the recent success against this evening’s competition.

Hockey Birthday:

  • Murray Oliver (1937-2014) – Oliver enjoyed an 18-year, 1127 regular season-game playing career. Most of that time was spent with the Boston Bruins (traded from Detroit during the 1960-’61 season), where he played center for seven seasons for 426 games. He also tried his hand at coaching, leading the Minnesota North Stars in 37 games during the 1982-’83 season.
  • Bobby Allen (1978-) – Allen made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers during the 2002-’03 season, but he would be more known for his two year stint in Boston, where he played defense in 50 regular season games.
  • Taylor Hall (1991-) – Up until this season, the left winger had spent all of his seven-year career with the Edmonton Oilers. The first pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft played in 381 regular season games with the Oil before being traded to New Jersey this off-season.

Yesterday’s Game of the Day featured our second-straight overtime game, and once again it was the home team that scored the final tally as Vancouver beat Dallas 5-4.

The Stars got on the board only 5:43 after the initial puck drop with Patrick Eaves (Dan Hamhuis and Second Star Tyler Seguin) burying a wrister. That lead lasted only 22 seconds before Bo Horvat (Alexandre Burrows and Sven Baertschi) scored a wrister of his own to level for the Canucks. Dallas reclaimed the lead once again only 20 seconds after Horvat’s goal when Lauri Korpikoski (Radek Faksa and Jamie Benn) buried his wrister to set the score at 2-1, which held into the first intermission.

Only one goal was struck in the second frame, and it belonged to the Stars. Eaves (Seguin and Antoine Roussel) takes credit for the score with a deflection to give the Stars a 3-1 lead 4:56 before the second intermission.

Willie Desjardins and Henrik Sedin must have given some speech going into the final frame, because the Canucks came back to the ice with a vengeance. 3:26 after resuming play, Loui Eriksson (Third Star Markus Granlund) buried a wrister to pull Vancouver back within a goal, followed 2:40 later by a power play wrister from Brandon Sutter (Daniel Sedin and H. Sedin) to level the score. Once again Dallas took the lead, this time with a Roussel (Seguin) backhander with 8:11 remaining in regulation. That score held until 100 seconds remained on the clock. First Star Troy Stecher (Burrows and Horvat) scored the first goal of his career with a slap shot to force overtime.

Three-on-three play lasted only 1:27 before Granlund (Sutter) ended the game with a wrister, sealing the Canucks‘ come-from-behind victory.

Ryan Miller earns the victory after saving 17-of-21 shots faced (81%), forcing Kari Lehtonen to take the overtime loss, saving 25-of-30 (83.3%).

Vancouver‘s overtime victory sets the DtFR Game of the Day series at 21-11-3, favoring the home squads by 11 points over the roadies.

November 8 – Day 27 – Could there be any other?

Happy Tuesday! For me, that means band rehearsal, but you get to kick back and watch some hockey. You’ve picked the right night to do that, as there’s quite a selection of games to choose from, starting with five at 7 p.m. (Carolina at New Jersey, Vancouver at the New York Rangers, Detroit at Philadelphia, Edmonton at Pittsburgh and San Jose at Washington), followed half an hour later by two more (Los Angeles at Toronto [TVAS] and Boston at Montréal [RDS]). 8 p.m. marks the beginning of a couple more contests (Ottawa at Nashville [RDS2] and Dallas at Winnipeg), with Arizona at Colorado, this evening’s nightcap, dropping the puck an hour later. All times eastern.

I know we just watched them last night, but we’re going to hop on the Bruins‘ plane to Montréal to catch them take on the best team in the league in one of the best rivalries in North America.

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The last time these two met, Montréal upset the Bruins 4-2 in the TD Garden. Don’t think for a moment that Boston has forgotten.

These are two proud franchises, with 30 Stanley Cups between them, and the rivalry between requires no introduction.

As stated yesterday, the 7-5-0 Bruins‘ strength is found between the pipes and along the blue line. They have allowed 32 goals so far this season, led by 7-1-0 Tuukka Rask‘s .941 save percentage and 1.74 GAA. So good has Rask been that he’s earned two shutouts even when facing 29.7 shots per game, the 13th-fewest allowed by a team’s defense in the NHL.

While 13th is far from the top of the list, it is probably better than most would consider the Bruins‘ defense to be. So far this season, they’ve been led by Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara, who have 30 and 26 blocks respectively.

The defense has been especially good on the penalty kill, refusing to yield a goal on 84.3%  of opposing man-advantages, the ninth-best rate in the best hockey league in the world.

Their opposition this evening are the 10-1-1 Canadiens. While they’ve played fantastically so far on both ends of the ice, I’m most impressed with their offense, which has managed 39 goals in 12 games (3.25 per game).

Twenty Habs have notched a point so far this season (including goaltender Al Montoya!), but the two that have really stood out have been center Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Shea Weber, who have 11 and 10 points respectively. In addition, Torrey Mitchell has struck five goals so far for Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge to lead the club.

Some players to keep an eye on include Boston‘s Brad Marchand (14 points [tied for fourth-most in the league] on nine assists [tied for seventh-most in the NHL]), David Pastrnak (eight goals [tied for the league-lead] and a +11 [tied for sixth-best in the NHL]) and Rask (seven wins [tied for second-most in the league], two of which are shutouts [tied for third-most in the NHL], on a 1.74 GAA [fifth-best in the league] and .941 save percentage [sixth-best in the NHL]) & Montréal‘s Carey Price (.952 save percentage [second-best in the league] for a 1.57 GAA [fourth-best in the NHL] and seven wins [tied for second-most in the league], one of which was a shutout [tied for seventh-most in the NHL]) and Weber (+15 [leads the league]).

It looks like most books are closed in Vegas regarding this game, which should always get a hockey fan excited. What makes this matchup even more tantalizing is it’s location, as the Canadiens are a perfect 7-0-0 at the Bell Centre, but five of Boston‘s seven wins have been away from the TD Garden. It should be a good contest, but I’m leaning towards a Montréal victory.

Hockey Birthday

  • Johnny Bower (1924-) – Known in his day as “The China Wall,” Bower was the goaltender to win four of Toronto‘s 13 Stanley Cups. The two-time Vezina winner played 522 games over 15 seasons, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976 with a career 250-195-90 record.
  • Keith Jones (1968-) – This right wing played 491 games over nine seasons, most of which were with Washington – the team that drafted him. Nowadays, Jones spends his days with the NBCSN studio crew and providing color and analysis for the Flyers‘ local broadcasts. Maybe Philadelphia will give him a victory over Detroit for his 48th.

Yesterday’s Game of the Day was our fourth-straight lopsided victory, as Boston beat Buffalo 4-0.

After a scoreless first period, Marchand (Pastrnak and Third Star of the Game Matt Beleskey) scored a power play wrister that proved to be the game-winner 5:44 into the middle frame.

Second Star David Krejci (Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner), Riley Nash and Pastrnak (Austin Czarnik and John-Michael Liles) accounted for the three insurance goals.

First Star Rask saved all 32 shots he faced to earn the shutout victory, while Robin Lehner saved 38-of-42 (90.5%) in the loss.

Boston‘s victory extends the home teams’ advantage to six points in the DtFR Game of the Day series with a record of 16-10-3.

November 7 – Day 26 – Buffalo-Boston bout

We’ve got three games on the schedule this evening, and they’ll all be played at almost the same time. Two games drop the puck at 7 p.m. (Buffalo at Boston [SN/TVAS] and Vancouver at the New York Islanders (NHLN]), with Tampa Bay at Florida going underway half an hour later. All times eastern.

Short list:

  • Buffalo at Boston: Over 40 years this rivalry has been waged, including eight playoff series. Not only does it rage in the TD Garden this evening, but also at DtFR headquarters.
  • Tampa Bay at Florida: Round two of the Governor’s Cup goes down tonight.

Given that Boston and Buffalo are tied on points, we’ll catch their game in the City on a Hill.

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The Sabres entered the league in 1970, and the rivalry has only intensified since. Boston has a 156-141-29 all-time advantage over the Sabres for a well-contested series in addition to their eight postseason meetings.

They last met in the playoffs during the 2009-’10 season in the Eastern Quarterfinals, with Boston winning the series 4-2. That victory gave the Bruins a 6-2 series record against Buffalo in the playoffs, but they were upset a round later that year by Philadelphia.

The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 5-4-2 record. While they have had some offensive struggles with Nicolas Deslauriers, Jack Eichel and Evander Kane finding themselves on the injury report, Buffalo has stood strong on the defensive end, allowing only 24 goals against – the fourth-best mark in the league.

Robin Lehner has started eight games for Buffalo this year, accounting for a 4-3-1 record on a .929 save percentage and 2.14 GAA. Given the defense playing in front of him, those numbers are very good. The Sabres defense has allowed 334 shots to reach their goaltenders already this season, which breaks down into 30.4 shots against per game.

Should the Sabres want to continue improving (odds are good that they do), more than Josh Gorges and Rasmus Ristolainen, who have 22 and 20 blocks respectively, need to contribute to alleviate pressure on their goaltender. Zach Bogosian has blocked the third-most shots so far this season, and only has 15 to his credit.

The special team Buffalo is most proud of has been their power play, which accounts for 32% of their goals. The Sabres have been successful on 22.22% of their attempts, which ranks as the ninth-best effort in the NHL, and half of their eight power play goals have been scored by Matt Moulson.

Boston enters the night with a 6-5-0 record, a position I feel they are fortunate to be in. Defense and goaltending has been the strength of the Bruins, if you could call an end of the ice that has allowed 32 goals in 11 games a strength. The offense has been even poorer, scoring only 25 times.

Last season, Boston was home to the fifth-most potent offense in the NHL, scoring 236 goals to average 2.88 per game. Almost a month into the season, the Bruins average only 2.27 goals per game to rank fifth-worst. Brad Marchand has done a good job to lead the team with 13 points, trailed closely behind by David Pastrnak‘s 10, but the remaining Bruins have yet to break the five-point mark.

If the Bruins don’t figure their offense out, at least they can hang their caps on having the 10th best penalty kill in the league. Allowing eight extra-man tallies against, they’ve killed 83.33% of their penalties.

Some players to keep an eye on include Boston‘s Marchand (nine assists [tied for sixth-most in the NHL]), Pastrnak (seven goals [tied for fourth-most in the league] and a +11 [tied for sixth-best in the NHL]) and Tuukka Rask (six wins [tied for fourth-most in the league], including a shutout [tied for sixth-most in the NHL]) & Buffalo‘s Anders Nilsson (1.95 GAA [10th-best in the league] on a .937 save percentage [10th-best in the NHL]), Kyle Okposo (five goals [leads the team]) and Ristolainen (eight assists [leads the team]).

Boston has been marked by Vegas with a -160 advantage, but I think they’re wrong. I’m picking the upset due to Buffalo‘s defense being more than able to contain the Bruins‘ anemic offense.

Hockey Birthday

  • Michel Picard (1969-) – This left wing played 166 games over nine seasons in the NHL with six teams, 36.7% of which were in St. Louis from 1997-’99. Nowadays, he’s an amateur scour for the Blues.
  • Mike Commodore (1979-) – The 42nd overall selection in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, this defenseman played 484 games over 11 seasons, mostly with Carolina, the team he won his lone Stanley Cup with.
  • Pascal Leclaire (1982-) – The eighth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, and first goaltender selected, Leclaire played 173 games over seven seasons to total a 61-76-15 record. Most of those games were played with the team that drafted him: the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With two goals in the second period, the Anaheim Ducks beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

The Ducks found the scoreboard first, and didn’t wait long to do it. 2:29 after beginning the game, First Star of the Game Clayton Stoner (Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf) scored a wrister to give Anaheim the lead. With 3:45 remaining in the period, Calgary drew even when Alex Chiasson (John Gaudreau and Sean Monahan) found the back of the net for the Flames. The one-all score held into the first intermission.

The Ducks were quick starters again in the second period, waiting only 3:18 before Second Star Ryan Kesler (Perry and Getzlaf) scored the game-winning wrister.

Andrew Cogliano (Jakob Silfverberg and Josh Manson) and Kesler (Perry and Getzlaf) scored the two insurance goals for Anaheim to secure the victory.

Third Star Jonathan Bernier earns the victory after saving 25-of-26 shots faced (96.2%), while Chad Johnson takes the loss after saving 17-of-21 (81%).

Anaheim‘s victory on the Pond pads the home squads’ lead in the DtFR Game of the Day series, setting the homers’ record at 15-10-3 to lead the roadies by four points.