Tag Archives: Brad Marchand

February 28 – Day 136 – The Bolts won’t stop winning!

It took five games for the Predators to beat the Blues, but they made up for it by scoring five unanswered goals in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

The winning tally was the only one of the first period.  Third Star of the Game Craig Smith’s wrister found the back of the net at the 5:39 mark, assisted by Mike Ribeiro and First Star Filip Forsberg (his 20th helper of the season).

Only 54 seconds into the second, Nashville doubled their lead with a Forsberg wrister.  He was assisted by Petter Granberg and Smith (his 10th helper of the season).  4:45 later, Forsberg struck again with another wrister, assisted by Smith and Ribeiro, for his 25th tally of the season.  The lead become 4-0 with 5:11 remaining as Forsberg’s snap shot, assisted by Ribeiro (his 36th helper of the season) and Roman Josi, earned him a hat trick.

The final goal entered the net at the 4:37 mark of the third, courtesy of Colin Wilson’s wrister (his fifth goal of the season), assisted by Viktor Arvidsson and Anthony Bitetto.

Second Star Pekka Rinne earns the shutout victory, saving all 28 shots he faced.  Jake Allen takes the loss, allowing four goals on 23 shots (82.6%).  He was replaced by Pheonix Copley at the 15:34 mark of the second period for this first NHL action.  He made five of six saves (83.3%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 61-33-12, favoring the home sides by 33 points over the roadies.

To close out the week, there’s seven games taking place this Sunday.  The first of those drops the puck at 12:30 p.m. eastern when Washington visits Chicago, followed two and a half hours later by two matchups (Florida at Minnesota and St. Louis at Carolina).  6:30 p.m. eastern features the puck drop of the Tampa Bay at Boston game, trailed 30 minutes later by San Jose at Vancouver.  At 9 p.m. eastern, Los Angeles visits Anaheim, with this evening’s nightcap, the New York Islanders at Edmonton, dropping the puck half an hour later.

Three of the games are between division rivals (Tampa Bay at Boston, San Jose at Vancouver and Los Angeles at Anaheim), and another set of three are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (Washington at Chicago, Tampa Bay at Boston and Los Angeles at Anaheim).

Although the WashingtonChicago game is very tempting, the game that has the most immediate impact on the standings actually occurs in New England, as the Bolts and B’s are currently tied for second place in the Atlantic Division.

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This evening’s game will be Tampa Bay‘s 13th in the Game of the Day series, where they own a 8-3-1 record.  Their most recent under our scrutiny was their 4-0 victory in New Jersey on Friday.  Boston has also been featured this week, as they beat Pittsburgh 5-1 on Wednesday, which set their series record at 5-7-1 in 13 games played.

The 35-22-4 Tampa Bay Lightning currently sit in second place in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference.  They’ve no doubt earned that position, as they play the sixth-best defense in the league paired with the ninth-best offense.

Thanks in part to Victor Hedman’s team-leading 102 blocks, the Lightning have allowed only 1727 shots to reach 25-17-3 Ben Bishop and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 92.1% for only 149 goals against, sixth-fewest in the league.  That strong defensive play has continued to the penalty kill, as Tampa‘s 82.97% kill rate for only 31 power play goals against ranks eighth-best in the NHL.  That rate improves even more when the Bolts‘ short-handed goals are taken into account, of which they have five (led by Brian Boyle’s two), one more than the league average.

The offense trails right behind, led by Steven Stamkos’ 170 shots for 1775 attempts on goal, of which a solid 9.4% have found the back of the net for 169 tallies (led by Stamkos’ 27 tallies), ninth-most in the league.  It has been the power play where Tampa Bay‘s biggest weakness can be found, as they connect on only 16.98% of opportunities (fifth-worst in the league) for 36 power play goals (led by Stamkos’ dozen).  To make matters worse, the Bolts have also given up six shorties on the season.

Tampa is currently riding a five-game winning streak, the second-best active streak in the NHL right now.  Their most recent showing was the four-goal shutout at The Rock Friday night.  In addition to breaking their tie with the Bruins for second place, a win also has the potential to pull the Bolts within two points of the in-state rival Panthers should they lose to the Wild.

The 34-22-6 Boston Bruins currently occupy third place in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.  Their efforts have been almost entirely on the offensive end, as the defense and goaltending have allowed the 11th-most goals.  A more in-depth analysis of their game can be found within Wednesday’s article.

The Bruins are currently riding a two-game winning streak, with their most recent being their 4-1 victory in Carolina Friday night.  Just like Tampa, a win by Boston earns the Bruins outright ownership to second place in the division, with them potentially trailing Florida by only two points for the division lead.

The season series is currently tied at 1-1-0, with both teams earning a win on the road.  Their most recent meeting Halloween, when the Bruins won 3-1 in Tampa.

Some players to keep an eye on in this evening’s game include Boston‘s Brad Marchand (32 goals [tied for third-most in the league]) and Tuukka Rask (four shutouts [tied for fourth-most in the league]) & Tampa Bay‘s Bishop (2.09 GAA [second-best in the league], .924 save percentage [tied for seventh-best in the league] and 25 wins [tied for ninth-most in the league])and Stamkos (27 goals [seventh-most in the league]).

Although neither team has been able to defend home ice yet in this season this year, I think Boston‘s poor defense allows Stamkos and co. to earn two points and focus in on catching the Panthers for the top seed in the Atlantic.

February 24 – Day 132 – Wildcard Wednesday

The Carolina Hurricanes finally won a game in the Game of the Day series, beating the Philadelphia Flyers, who hadn’t lost in our series, 3-1.

It was actually the Flyers that scored first, but it wasn’t until late in the first.  Scott Laughton’s wrister found the back of the net at the 17:45 mark, assisted by Matt Read (his 10th helper of the season) and Radko Gudas, the only score of the opening frame.

In their black alternates, the Canes leveled the score 8:09 after resuming play with a Joakim Nordstrom snap shot, his eighth tally of the season.  10:17 later, Jordan Staal’s 16th goal of the season gave Carolina a lead they would not yield, assisted by Brett Pesce and Andrej Nestrasil.  The Hurricane‘s 2-1 lead held into the second intermission.

Carolina‘s lone insurance goal found the back of the net with 5:49 remaining, courtesy of a Eric Staal wrister, assisted by Jay McClement and Elias Lindholm (his 21st helper of the season).

Cam Ward earns the win after saving 36 of 37 (97.3%), while Michal Neuvirth takes the loss, saving 15 of 18 (83.3%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 59-31-12, favoring the home squad by 33 points over the roadies.

Today’s schedule is fairly light, with only four games to be played.  The first, Montréal at Washington, drops the puck at 7 p.m. eastern, followed half an hour later by Pittsburgh at Boston (NBCSN).  San Jose at Colorado (NBCSN) gets started at 10 p.m. eastern, trailed 30 minutes later by this evening’s nightcap, Buffalo at Anaheim.

None of tonight’s games are divisional rivalries, but two are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (Pittsburgh at Boston and San Jose at Colorado).

I must admit, I’m being swayed by a mini-rivalry here in the “office” (aka our dorm rooms), but I think the PittsburghBoston game will be the most competitive this evening, so let’s head to the TD Garden!

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Tonight’s game will be Pittsburgh‘s 11th in the Game of the Day series, where they own a 3-6-1 record.  Their most recent showing under our observation was a 4-2 loss to the Lightning on Saturday.  Boston hasn’t been featured since Valentine’s Day, when they fell 6-5 in Detroit.  That game was their 12th in the series, and set their record at 4-7-1 in such games.

The 30-20-8 Pittsburgh Penguins currently occupy fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference, good enough for the second wildcard position.  To get to that position, they’ve played the 12th-best defense in the league, but have scored the 11th-fewest goals, which has kept contests tight.  A more in-depth analysis of their game can be found within Saturday’s article.

The Penguins most recent game was a 4-3 victory in Buffalo Sunday afternoon.  A regulation win tonight would propel Pittsburgh past Boston into the first wildcard position, and they would trail the Islanders by a lone point for the third division spot.  A loss would not put them out of the playoffs, but it would keep the differential between them and the first team out, New Jersey, at only a lone point.

The 32-22-6 Boston Bruins currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.  It has been the offense that has led the way for the Bruins, as they’ve scored the third-most goals in the league, but they’ve given up the 10th-most goals.

Led by Patrice Bergeron’s 201 shots, the B’s have fired puck an incredible 1902 times, with a whopping 9.5% finding the back of the net for 185 goals (led by Brad Marchand’s 30 tallies), third-most in the NHL.  Just like you’d expect, that offense success has continued on the power play, where Boston‘s 22.29% success rate, for 39 power play goals (led by Bergeron’s nine), ranks fourth-best in the league.

The center line has represented the divide between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the Bruins, as the defense continues to struggle this season.  Even with Kevan Miller’s team-leading 96 blocks, Boston has allowed 1822 shots to reach 22-17-5 Tuukka Rask and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.3% for 169 goals against, 10th-most in the league.  That being said, the Bruins do flip a switch on the penalty kill, as they’ve killed 82.76% of their penalties for only 35 power play goals against.  In addition, the kill has also been tremendous at scoring, as they have eight short-handed goals to their credit (led by Marchand’s four shorties).

The Bruins last played Monday night, a 6-4 loss to the Blue Jackets on home ice.  A win tonight would put Boston back into the third division spot by virtue of losing the games played tiebreaker to Tampa Bay.  A regulation loss allows the Penguins to jump the Bruins for the top wildcard spot, and they would have a three point lead over New Jersey.

Boston has already won the season series 2-0-0, with the cumulative score reading 9-2.  Both previous games were played in a home-and-home series on December 16 and 18, with the Bruins winning 3-0 on home ice before travelling to the Steel City and winning 6-2.  Those games were the second and third of Mike Sullivan’s Pittsburgh career.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Boston‘s Marchand (30 goals [tied for fourth-most in the league]) and Rask (four shutouts [tied for fourth-most in the league]) & Pittsburgh‘s Sidney Crosby (56 points [eighth-most in the league] and 25 goals [tied for ninth-most in the league]), Marc-Andre Fleury (four shutouts [tied for fourth-most in the league] and 24 wins [tied for ninth-most in the league]) and Chris Kunitz (+21 [tied for seventh-best in the league]).

This Pittsburgh team is a much different one than played the Bruins in December, and is much more capable of scoring.  I expect to see a lot of goals scored, but favoring the Bruins when the clock reads zeroes.

Should he stay or should he go? (feat. Loui Eriksson)

By: Nick Lanciani

The Boston Bruins have a big decision to make leading up to this year’s trade deadline. If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a lot of speculation surrounding Boston’s RW Loui Eriksson and his future with the franchise.

UnknownBased on the latest trades in the NHL, the market value of someone of Eriksson’s stature could yield more than enough to satisfy the Bruins front office for the next few years. Just think, the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to get two 2nd round picks (and Raffi Torres) from the San Jose Sharks for Roman Polak and Nick Spaling.

If the Maple Leafs could get two 2nd round picks for their fire sale, think of what the Bruins could get for a player on the verge of his best season since at least the 2011-2012 regular season and on pace to reach the 70 point plateau.

The fact of the matter is that Loui Eriksson is a very versatile player. Three years removed from the infamous Tyler Seguin trade with the Dallas Stars, Boston has finally seen what they expected all along from Eriksson on the ice. He goes to the right places, can be found on the rush and is dependable on the power play, if not deadly on special teams on a night-to-night basis.

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Could it be the end of Loui Eriksson in Black and Gold? (Photo via author)

Eriksson has 23-25-48 totals so far in 60 games played this season; already besting his 22-25-47 totals last season over 81 games played and significantly improving upon his 10-27-37 total production in an injury plagued 61 game season in his first year in Boston during the 2013-2014 run that culminated in a Bruins second round playoff exit to the rival Montreal Canadiens. In 12 career playoff games with the B’s, Eriksson has put up two goals and three assists.

The offensive upside to Eriksson’s game is crucial to his role as a top six forward. Yet, the 30-year old is on the final year of a six-year, $4.250 million AAV deal and is only expected to earn more, much more, in comparison to what the Bruins might be able to offer in an extension. Had the two sides discussed a deal much earlier in the season (prior to Eriksson’s rampage on the scoresheet), Boston might have been able to secure Eriksson to a similar deal to the one that is soon to expire.

He is a dependable forward that brings a lot more to the table than Nick Spaling will bring to San Jose. By comparison, Eriksson makes Spaling look like a fourth liner (if not a depth forward) on just about any NHL roster.

Compared to a player of similar caliber, but only a couple of years younger, Loui Eriksson could be raking in a well deserved raise similar to the 28-year old Anze Kopitar’s $80 million over 8 years extension with the Los Angeles Kings. Somewhere in the ballpark between $6.000 to $8.000 million AAV for any amount of time is well worth the chance for Eriksson to take the money and run.

And the Bruins don’t have the room for that. Granted, their salary cap crunch days are much better than last year’s numbers.

In the next two free agency cycles the Boston Bruins will have to resign a plethora of young stars including, Ryan Spooner ($950,000), David Pastrnak ($925,000), Brett Connolly ($1.000 million), Brad Marchand- who by the way is having a career year himself this year- ($4.500 million), Torey Krug ($3.400 million), Colin Miller ($600,000), Seth Griffith ($750,000) and quite possibly Alexander Khokhlachev ($800,000) assuming the Bruins don’t try to package the disgruntled Providence Bruin who has hinted at jettisoning the spoked-B for the KHL.

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Will the Bruins give up on second chances for Alexander Khokhlachev? (Photo via author)

At least for Boston, they have some comfort in knowing that Milan Lucic’s retained salary of $2.750 million is coming off the books after this season and that forwards, Chris Kelly ($3.000 million) and Max Talbot ($900,000) may not be resigned. Kelly for sure will likely be forced to search for a job elsewhere in the league or face retirement in his comeback from a fractured left femur just 11 games into the season.

So it all comes back down to what is here and now- Loui Eriksson.

Without a doubt, Eriksson has a long future left in the NHL with any team in the league. Where he might end up is not necessarily clear, but the Bruins should seek to land a 1st round pick, a prospect, and a solid forward or top-4 defenseman at the very least in an exchange for just Loui Eriksson.

The more pieces you add to the puzzle, the more things appear to stack up in favor of Boston (at least from a negotiating side). The Bruins have plenty of chips to put on the table with Eriksson, Khokhlachev and even Kevan Miller (who’s superb on the physical aspect of defense and shot blocking) to offer to a team that’s on the border or well within the cutoff of the playoff picture. Bruins GM Don Sweeney also has a couple of 1st round picks that he could dangle in front of an attractive trading partner.

So while it might be sad to see such a productive player go in one of his best seasons, it just might be one of those classic examples of a “good hockey trade”- something reminiscent of when the Bruins brought in Phil Esposito or the like. Who knows, it just might be enough to put them in Cup contention for 2016.

(And as requested by our in-house music guru, Connor, he wouldn’t let me get away with the title without alluding to this).

February 14 – Day 122 – These teams definitely don’t love each other…

It took overtime, but the Anaheim Ducks were able to avenge their 3-2 overtime loss on the Pond against the Blackhawks by winning in Chicago by the same score.

The Hawks scored the first goal, but it wasn’t until 35:28 had ticked off the clock and Anaheim committed a penalty.  It came courtesy of Second Star of the Game Brent Seabrook on a slap shot, assisted by Patrick Kane (his 45th helper of the season) and Duncan Keith.  It was the only goal of the period, so Chicago took the 1-0 lead into the third.

The Ducks leveled the score at the 4:56 mark of the final frame on a Jakob Silfverberg wrister, assisted by Third Star Ryan Kesler (his 16th helper of the season) and Cam Fowler.  The Ducks then took the lead 3:42 later with a David Perron wrister, assisted by First Star Ryan Getzlaf (his 36th helper of the season) and Mike Santorelli.  The Hawks leveled the game again with 7:59 remaining in regulation when Seabrook scored his second of the night, assisted by Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw (his 18th helper of the season).  Neither team was able to break the tie, so our Game of the Day series went to its second straight overtime period.

The three-on-three lasted only 2:16 before Getzlaf scored the wrister-winner, assisted by Fowler and Sami Vatanen (his 20th helper of the season).

Frederik Anderson replaced John Gibson (16 of 17,  94.1%) at the beginning of the third period and earned the win, saving five of the six shots he faced (83.3%), while Corey Crawford takes the loss after saving 41 of 44 (93.2%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 54-27-11, favoring the home squads by 34 points over the roadies.

As usual, the NHL takes a little bit of a reprieve on Sundays, but with the NFL finally out of the way, there’s a little bit more room for some exciting games.  The first games drop the puck at 12:30 p.m. eastern (Colorado at Buffalo and Los Angeles at New Jersey), followed three hours later by Boston at Detroit (NBC).  Tampa Bay hosts St. Louis at 6 p.m. eastern, which is trailed by Philadelphia at the New York Rangers (NBCSN) by 90 minutes.

40% of today’s games are between divisional rivals (Boston at Detroit and Philadelphia at New York), and another set of two are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (Boston at Detroit and St. Louis at Tampa Bay).  As usual, I like to choose the game that qualifies for both, especially since they are slated to meet in the Eastern Quarterfinals, so we’re headed to Hockeytown!

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Today’s game will be Boston‘s 12th in the Game of the Day series (most in the Atlantic Division), where they own a 4-6-1 record.  Their most recent was Tuesday’s game, where the Kings smashed them 9-2 in the TD Garden.  Detroit has been featured six times before today, and own a 4-2-0 record in such games.  They were last featured Monday, when they beat the Panthers in Motown 3-0.

The 30-19-6 Boston Bruins currently sit in second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference.  They play one of the best offenses in the league, but it’s paired with a defense that, although improving, allows the 13th-most goals.  As they were just featured Tuesday, a more in-depth analysis of their game can be found within that post.

With yesterday’s 4-2 win in Minnesota, the Bruins are currently riding a two-game win streak.  Should they extend it to three, they not only expand their lead over the Wings for second in the division to three points, but they also draw within two points of Florida for the division lead.

The 28-18-9 Detroit Red Wings currently occupy third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.  The name of the game in Motown is defense, which ranks 11th-best in the league, but it is paired with the ninth-worst offense in the NHL.

Thanks in part to Danny DeKeyser’s 76 blocks, 21-10-5 Petr Mrazek and co. have had to save 1624 shots, only one more than the league average, of which they’ve collectively saved 92.3% for 138 goals against, 11th-fewest in the league.  That ranking may be explained by Detroit‘s penalty kill, which ranks 14th-worst in the league, killing only 80.43% for 36 extra-man goals against.

The offense has been even poorer, firing only 1593 shots (led by Dylan Larkin’s 149 attempts), 8.7% of which have found the back of the net for 139 goals (led by Larkin’s 18 tallies), ninth-fewest in the league.  Again, those numbers might have the special teams to blame, as the Wings rank 11th-worst in the league with a man-advantage.  They score on only 18.18% of attempts, for 32 power play goals (led by Gustav Nyquist’s six extra man tallies).

The Wings lost their most recent showing, a 3-2 shootout loss on home ice to the Avalanche.  Should the Wings avoid that loss from becoming a streak, they will move a point past Boston for second place in the Atlantic Division, but a loss runs the risk of the Wings falling to the first wild card spot should Tampa Bay beat the Blues.

Boston and Detroit have already played twice this season, with the Bruins winning both contests.  Their most recent meting was November 25, a 3-2 overtime game in Detroit.

Some players to watch in today’s game include Boston‘s Brad Marchand (27 goals [tied for fifth-most in the league]) and Tuukka Rask (four shouts [tied for fourth-most in the league) & Detroit‘s Larkin (+25 [tied for second-best in the league]) and Mrazek (1.94 GAA [leads the league], .933 save percentage [leads the league] and four shutouts [tied for fourth-most in the league).

Especially when taking Detroit‘s offense into consideration, it is tough to pick against the Bruins.

 

February 9 – Day 117 – Hello, old friend

Although they only needed one, the Red Wings decided to score three goals in the final period to secure the shutout victory over the Panthers in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

Detroit waited 44:19 before Tomas Tatar tipped-in a goal, assisted by Jakub Kindl and Dylan Larkin (his 20th helper of the season), which came to be the game-winner.  But, now that the goose egg was off the board, the Wings felt a little bit more confident, scoring only 7:07 later when First Star of the Game Pavel Datsyuk snapped his goal off assists from Brad Richards (his 11th helper of the season) and Henrik Zetterberg.  The final goal occurred at the 12:34 mark (yes, 1-2-3-4) when Datsyuk scored his second of the night, assisted by Zetterberg (his 27th helper of the season) and Third Star Justin Abdelkader.

Second Star Petr Mrazek earns the win after saving all 23 shots he faced, while Al Montoya loses, saving 28 of 31 (90.3%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 53-24-10, favoring the home squad by an even 40 points.

It’s a busy Tuesday schedule in the NHL!  The action gets started at the usual 7 p.m. eastern starting time with four games (Los Angeles at Boston, Florida at Buffalo, Anaheim at Philadelphia and the New York Islanders at Columbus), followed half an hour later by Tampa Bay at Montréal.  Four more games drop the puck at 8 p.m. eastern (Winnipeg at St. Louis, Washington at Nashville, Dallas at Minnesota [NBCSN] and Edmonton at New Jersey), with San Jose at Chicago beginning half an hour later.  Finally, this evening’s co-nightcaps, Vancouver at Colorado and Toronto at Calgary, drop the puck at 9 p.m. eastern.

Five of the 12 games this evening are divisional rivalries (Florida at Buffalo, New York at Columbus, Tampa Bay at Montréal, Winnipeg at St. Louis and Dallas at Minnesota), while three are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (Los Angeles at Boston, Washington at Nashville and San Jose at Chicago).  The Tampa BayMontréal game is also a rematch of one of last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.

It is not only because Boston‘s and Los Angeles‘ records are closest of the playoff qualifiers that we will focus on this game, but also because of the return of Milan Lucic to the TD Garden, where he spent the first eight years of his career.

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This will only be the Kings‘ fourth appearance in the Game of the Day series, where they currently own a 1-2-0 record.  Their most recent showing in the series was January 27, the last day before the All-Star Break, falling 4-3 on home ice to the Avalanche.  Boston has been featured more often, 10 times before tonight, and own a 4-5-1 record in such games.  Their most recent showing in the series was a 4-1 victory in Montréal on January 19.

Hailing from the city of the now-division rival Canucks, Milan Lucic was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2006.  By 2007, he was playing full time for the Black and Gold, and ended up playing 566 regular season games for the Bruins.  By far his most successful season was the 2010-’11 season (which corresponds with the Bruins‘ most recent Stanley Cup), when he scored 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points (career-highs in goals and points).

Since being traded to the Kings, Lucic has the most hits (157), scored the most game-winning goals (five) and is tied for second-most even-strength goals (11) on the squad.  He’s also been a great distributor, as he is tied for third on the team in even-strength assists (14).

After missing the playoffs a year ago (and becoming the first since Carolina to not qualify after hoisting the Cup the season prior), 31-17-3 Los Angeles has appreciated his contributions.  Although they are still a team that likes to play squelching defense, they appreciate his efforts to make the Kings‘ offense the best of the worst (Does that not make sense?  It will soon…).

Led by Alec Martinez’ 112 blocks, the Kings have allowed only 1421 shots to reach 27-14-2 Jonathan Quick and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 92% for only 119 goals against, fourth-fewest in the league.  Part of that success can be attributed to the penalty kill, which ranks ninth-best in the league, killing 82.7% of opposing power plays for 32 extra-man goals against.

On the other end, Dustin Brown’s 142 shots have led the way to a whopping 1632 attempts, of which 8.3% have found the back of the net for 137 goals scored (led by Tyler Toffoli’s 23 tallies), 15th-fewest in the league.  That lack of success cannot be attributed to the power play, as it is fourth-best, connecting on 21.85% of attempts for 33 extra-man goals (led by Toffoli’s eight).

Los Angeles most recently lost 4-2 to the Ducks on Thursday, but that did little to affect the Kings‘ seven-point Pacific Division lead.  A win tonight has the potential to expand that lead to nine points over San Jose, or diminish the differential between the Kings and the Blackhawks to nine, pending the result of the San JoseChicago game.

The 28-18-6 Boston Bruins currently sit in third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference, and have done so playing on of the best offenses in the league.  But what really makes the Bruins scary is the continual improvement on the defensive end, making them a sizable threat on either end of the ice.

Led by Patrice Bergeron’s 181 shots, the Bruins have fired the puck a whopping 1654 times, with 9.1% finding the back of the net for 155 goals scored (led by Brad Marchand’s 24 tallies), fourth-most in the NHL.  Much of that success can be attributed to the second-best power play in the league, which scores on 24.14% of attempts for 35 extra-man goals (led by Bergeron’s nine power play tallies).

Led by Kevan Miller’s 78 blocks, Boston has allowed only 1545 shots to reach 19-15-5 Tuukka Rask and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.7% for 138 goals against, 14th-fewest in the league.  Again, that success stems from the special teams play.  The Bruins kill 84.66% of penalties, allowing only 27 goals, making them fourth-best .

The Bruins are currently riding a two-game win streak, with their most recent being a 2-1 overtime win over the Sabres.  Extending that streak to three breaks the tie with Detroit for the third spot, but also has the ability to propel the Bruins to second in the division should Tampa Bay fall in Montréal.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Boston‘s Marchand (24 goals [tied for seventh-most in the league]) and Rask (four shutouts [tied for third-most in the league]) & Los Angeles‘ Anze Kopitar (33 assists [tied for ninth-most in the league] and +19 [tied for ninth-best in the league]), Quick (27 wins [third-most in the league]) and Toffoli (+23 [tied for third-best in the league]).

Based on the numbers, this is going to be an incredible game.  That being said, I’m still expected to pick a winner.  Not only because they are on home ice, but also because I think they are the better team overall, I believe that the Boston Bruins will earn the victory this evening.

January 19 – Day 101 – It’s the last Boston-Montréal game of the regular season!

The St. Louis Blues used a three-goal third period to secure the 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

It took exactly 12 minutes before Alexander Steen scored the Blues‘ first goal, assisted by First Star of the Game Paul Stastny (his 16th  helper of the season), but they were not able to keep the lead into the intermission, as Christ Kunitz scored with 117 seconds remaining off assists from Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby (the 23rd assist of the season for both).

The Pens took their only lead of the game at the 15:56 mark of the second with a tally from Evgeni Malkin, off assists from Carl Hagelin and Letang (his 24th helper of the season), but the Blues leveled the score 1:18 later with Vladimir Tarasenko’s 25th goal of the season off assists from Joel Edmundson and Robby Fabbri.  The two-all score held into the second intermission.

The Blues‘ game-winning goal occurred only 2:10 after resuming play, courtesy of Second Star Troy Brouwer after assists from Stastny and Colton Parayko (his 13th helper of the season).  Stastny continued his excellent night with the first insurance goal, assisted by Brouwer and Jay Bouwmeester (his 11th helper of the season).  The final goal of the night was an empty-netter with only 12 seconds remaining, courtesy of Kevin Shattenkirk after assists from Steen (his 27th helper of the season) and Stastny.

Third Star Brian Elliott earns the win after saving 36 of 38 (94.7%) to improve his record to 9-5-4, while Jeff Zatkoff’s record falls to 3-5-1 after saving only 20 of 24 (83.3%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 43-19-9, favoring the home squad by 33 points.

It’s an eight-game schedule on this Tuesday, with four games dropping the opening puck at 7 p.m. eastern (Calgary at New Jersey, Vancouver at the New York Rangers, Toronto at Philadelphia [TVAS] and Washington at Columbus).  7:30 p.m. eastern brings with it the beginning of two more games (Boston at Montréal [RDS] and Edmonton at Tampa Bay), followed half an hour later by Chicago at Nashville (NBCSN/SN1).  This evening’s nightcap occurs at 10:30 p.m. eastern between Dallas and Los Angeles.

Three of tonight’s games are between divisional rivals (Washington at Columbus, Boston at Montréal and Chicago at Nashville), and two are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (Boston at Montréal and Dallas at Los Angeles).  The Chicago at Nashville game is also a rematch of one of last season’s Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Although I’m intrigued by the DallasLos Angeles game, the BostonMontréal game is too important in the standings for us to ignore.  To Montréal we go!

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Tonight’s game will be Boston‘s 10th appearance in the Game of the Day series, where they own a 3-5-1 record.  Their most recent showing in such games was on January 11, when they lost 2-1 in Madison Square Garden.  Montréal has been featured eight times before tonight, and own a 6-1-0 record in such games, with their most recent being on New Year’s Day against these Bruins in Foxboro, Mass., where they won 5-1.

The 23-16-5 Boston Bruins currently occupy fourth place in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference, good enough to qualify them for the first wild card position.  To get themselves to that position, they utilize one of the best offenses in the league, backed by an above-average defense.

Led by Patrice Bergeron’s 153 shots, the Bruins have fired the puck 1388 times, of which a solid 9.4% have found the back of the net for 131 goals (led by Bergeron’s 17 tallies), fourth-most in the league.  A specific facet of Boston‘s offense that has proven highly successful has been the power play, where they’ve scored on a whopping 27.73% of attempts for 33 goals.

Defensively, the Bruins have allowed only 1272 shots (aided by Kevan Miller’s team-leading 71 blocks) to reach 15-13-4 Tuukka Rask and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.5% for 115 goals against, 12th-best in the league.  While the penalty kill has been successful (killing 84% for only 24 power play goals against), their biggest strength has been scoring shorties, with six to their credit (led by Brad Marchand’s three).

Boston is currently riding a two-game win streak, with their most showing being a 3-2 victory against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.  A win tonight has the potential to move them past Tampa Bay into the third division spot for the Atlantic.

The 23-19-4 Montréal Canadiens currently sit in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference.  They play a game very similar to the Bruins (I know, neither fan base likes being compared to the other), as they have a solid offense backed by an above-average defense.

Led by Max Pacioretty’s 181 attempts, the Habs have fired the puck 1457 times, of which 8.6% have found the back of the net for 126 tallies (led by Pacioretty’s 19 goals), seventh-most in the league.  Although the offense as a whole has been very successful, the power play has not been as good, as they’ve only found the back of the net on 18.18% of attempts for 28 goals (led by Pacioretty’s seven).

Thanks in part to Andrei Markov’s team-leading 75 blocks, only 1274 shots have made their way to 12-11-4 Mike Condon and co., of which they’ve saved 91.1% for 117 goals against, 15th-best in the league.  The penalty kill has been slightly above average as well, as they’ve killed 84.56% of attempts for 23 goals against.

The Habs are currently riding a four-game losing streak, with their most recent being a 5-2 loss in Chicago on Sunday.  Should Montréal win tonight, they will swap spots with the Bruins for the first wild card spot.

This is the final regular season meeting between these bitter rivals, with the Habs already winning the series 3-1-0.  Their last meeting was at the Winter Classic, where Montréal won 5-1.

Some players to watch in tonight’s game includes Boston‘s Rask (four shutouts [tied for third-most in the league]) and Montréal‘s P.K. Subban (29 assists [tied for sixth-most in the league]).

This one is a tough one to pick.  Although I think the Bruins are the better overall team, it is hard to argue against the result of the last meeting, especially since the game is in Montréal this time.  The line reads Montréal at -111, so I suppose I’ll pick the Habs to pull out the victory.

January 8 – Day 90 – Does New Jersey count in the Boston-New York rivalry?

The Washington Capitals proved that they are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference by besting a solid New York Islanders team 4-1 in Brooklyn in last night’s Game of the Day.

The Caps came out firing on all cylinders, as they were able to punch the puck into the back of the net twice in the opening period.  The first tally came after 5:45 of play when Third Star of the Game Jason Chimera was able to score off Marcus Johansson’s 16th assist of the season.  Exactly 10 minutes later, Karl Alzner assisted First Star Alex Ovechkin to his 22nd goal of the season, putting his career total at 497 tallies, this one proving to be the game-winner.

New York finally got on the board after 21:59 of play when Ryan Strome and Mikhail Grabovski assisted Brock Nelson to his 14th goal of the season, but Washington was able to regain the momentum when Nate Schmidt scored on Nicklas Backstrom’s 25th assist of the season.  The 3-1 score held into the final period.

Only one goal was scored in the final 20 minutes of play, this one credited to Backstrom, his 12th of the season, after Jaroslav Halak had left the ice for the extra attacker, setting the score at the 4-1 final.

Second Star Braden Holtby continues his incredible season, improving his record to 26-4-2 after saving 34 of 35 (97.1%).  Halak’s first game back from injury didn’t go in his favor, and his record falls to 10-7-3 after saving 34 of 37 (91.9%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 35-18-7, favoring the home squad over the roadies by 23 points.

The weekend schedule gets started with six games this evening, and the first two drop the puck at 7 p.m. eastern (Boston at New Jersey and Columbus at Carolina).  8:30 p.m. eastern brings with it the start of the Buffalo at Chicago game (NHLN/BELL TV), followed half an hour later by a couple more (Nashville at Colorado and Tampa Bay at Edmonton).  Finally, this evening’s nightcap gets started at 10 p.m. eastern when St. Louis visits Anaheim (SN).

Two games are divisional rivalries (Columbus at Carolina and Nashville at Colorado), and only Boston at New Jersey exhibits two teams currently qualifying for the playoffs.

The matchup I’m most intrigued by is the Boston at New Jersey game, as these teams are only separated by a point in their fight for the Eastern Conference wild card spots.

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Boston has been featured in the Game of the Day series seven times before tonight’s game, and host a 2-4-1 record in such games.  Their most recent showing was the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, when they fell to the Canadiens 5-1.  This will be New Jersey‘s third appearance, and they are 1-1-0 so far.  Their last game in the Game of the Day series was on December 13, a 4-0 loss in Brooklyn to the Islanders.

The 20-14-4 Boston Bruins are currently fourth-best in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference, earning them the final playoff position as the second wild card.  They play one of the best offensive games in the league, and are improving their defensive efforts by the game.

Led by Patrice Bergeron’s 128 shots, the Bruins have put 1182 shots on net, only two behind the league average with two less games played.  9.8% have found the back of the net for 116 goals, fourth most in the league.  The success has continued into the special teams, where Boston has scored on 28.44% of their attempts for 31 tallies (led by Bergeron’s eight goals).

Boston started the season having difficulty keeping opponents off the scoreboard, but has improved over the course of the season.  The Bruins have allowed only 1098 shots (thanks in part to Adam McQuaid’s 67 blocks) to reach 14-11-3 Tuukka Rask and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.2% for only 104 goals against.  The penalty kill has been only average so far this season, killing 82.09% for 24 goals against.  What makes this special team significant is their knack for short-handed goals, as they have six to their credit (three of which belong to Brad Marchand).

The Bruins are currently riding a two-game losing skid, with their most recent being a 3-2 loss to the Capitals on Tuesday.

The 20-16-5 New Jersey Devils currently own fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference, earning them the top wild card spot.  They’ve play one of the best defenses in the league to compensate for lower scoring numbers.

Thanks in part to Adam Larsson’s team-leading 74 blocks, only 1155 shots have made their way to 17-12-5 Cory Schneider and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 92.4% for only 93 goals against, sixth-best in the league.  They’ve been just as successful on the penalty kill, preventing 82.95% of power plays and allowing only 22 goals.  Additionally, the Devils also have four shorties to their credit, two of which belong to Adam Henrique.

Offensively, the Devils have not been as strong, with only 1018 shots (led by Kyle Palmieri’s 103) and 92 goals (led by Palmieri’s 17) to their credit, sixth-fewest in the league.  The power play has been slightly better, as New Jersey scores on 19.26% of attempts (average in the NHL) for 26 goals (led by Palmieri’s six).

New Jersey is currently on a two-game losing skid, with their most recent being a 2-1 loss in Montréal on Wednesday.

Some players to watch in tonight’s game include Boston‘s Rask (four shutouts [tied for third-best in league]) and New Jersey‘s Schneider (2.06 GAA [tied for fourth-best in league], three shutouts [tied for sixth-best in league], .927 save percentage [seventh-best in league] and 17 wins [tied for seventh-best in league]).

Although New Jersey‘s defense is strong, I think Boston‘s offense can overpower Schneider’s team.  Since the Devils have such a tough time scoring, I expect the B’s to claim the top wild card spot with a victory tonight.

January 1 – Day 83 – You get two guesses…

Yesterday’s Game of the Day between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues ended poorly for the home squad, as the Wild scored two goals in the final 8:32 of play to secure the 3-1 victory.

The first goal of the game was not scored until 28:42 had ticked off the clock, and belonged to St. Louis.  Thanks to Marco Scandella sending the puck over the glass, the Blues took advantage of the extra man to get Third Star of the Game Kevin Shattenkirk his seventh goal of the season, assisted by Alexander Steen (his 22nd helper of the season) and Paul Stastny.  Minnesota waited until 3:48 remained in the second period to level the score at one-all, as Justin Fontaine and First Star Erik Haula assisted Second Star Nino Niederreiter to his eighth goal of the season.  The 1-1 score held into the second intermission.

The Wild notched their game winner at the 11:28 mark of the final period with a tally from Haula, assisted by Niederreiter.  Minnesota‘s final tally was an empty-netter, scored with 1:37 remaining in the game, compliments of Thomas Vanek, assisted by Charlie Coyle to set the score at 3-1.

Devan Dubnyk improves his record to 16-10-2 after saving 33 of 34 (97.1%), while Jake Allen’s record falls to 18-9-2 after saving 26 of 28 (92.9%).

The DtFR Game of the Day Series now stands at 32-15-6, with the homers favoring the roadies by 24 points.

Happy New Year from all of us at Down the Frozen River!  Too bad the NHL doesn’t share our sentiments, as they are only putting on two games today.  Jerks.

Oh wait.  One of those is the Winter Classic between the Montréal Canadiens and Boston Bruins!

It gets started at 1 p.m. eastern and takes place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.  The other game takes place inside Rogers Arena (Indoor games.  So yesterday, I know.) at 10 p.m. eastern when the Anaheim Ducks visit the Vancouver Canucks.

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Both teams have been featured six times before today’s game in the DtFR Game of the Day series, but the Habs own a much better record than the Bruins (5-1-0 and 2-3-1, respectively).  Montréal‘s last showing in the series was a 6-2 defeat in Dallas on December 19, while the home squad has been featured as recently as Tuesday, when they beat the Senators 7-3 on home ice.

The 21-15-3 Montréal Canadiens currently sit in second place in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.  Although they play a strong game on both ends of the ice, the Habs are certainly a more offensive-minded team having scored the fifth-most goals so far this season.

They may have two more games to their credit than the league average, but that is not the reason the Habs have 1226 shots to their credit (led by Max Pacioretty’s 156), 134 over the league average.  8.9% of those shots have turned into goals, 109 to be exact, led by Pacioretty’s 15 tallies.  Although the offense has been strong, the power play has been only average.  On 129 attempts, Montréal has only scored 25 goals (led by Pacioretty’s five goals) for a 19.38% success rate that leads the league average by only .24%.

The main facet of Montréal‘s defense has been keeping shots off 10-9-3 Mike Condon and co.  Thanks to Tom Gilbert’s team-leading 61 blocks, only 1077 shots have found their way to the crease, of which 91.2% have ben saved for 97 goals against.  The defensive successes have continued into the penalty kill, which has neutralized 84.5% of opposing opportunities for only 20 power play goals against.  Also, an added bonus to the penalty kill has been the seven short-handed goals that lead the league average by four tallies.

Their most recent showing was a 3-1 loss at Florida on Tuesday.

The 20-12-4 Boston Bruins currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference.  Just like Montréal, Boston employs a strong offensive attack, but are backed by a solid defense.

Led by Patrice Bergeron’s 122 shots, the Bruins have put 1127 shots on goal, of which 10% have found the back of the net for 113 goals (led by Brad Marchand’s 15).  Boston employs one of the strongest power plays in the league, successful on 29.41% attempts for 30 goals.

The Bruins‘ defense has also been very strong, as they’ve only allowed 1039 shots to reach 14-9-3 Tuukka Rask and co. (led by Adam McQuaid’s team-leading 64 blocks), of which 91.4% have been saved for 96 goals allowed.  Boston‘s penalty kill has been slightly better than average, allowing 23 goals on 127 opposing attempts for a 81.89% kill that leads the league average by 1.03%.

Their most recent showing was a 7-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

Some players to watch include Boston‘s Tuukka Rask (four shutouts [tied for third in the league]) and Montréal‘s P.K. Subban (25 assists [tied for seventh in the league]).

This will be the fourth meeting of the season between these two bitter rivals.  Montréal owns a 2-1-0 lead in the season series, but the most recent game, on December 9, was a 3-1 Boston victory in the Bell Centre.

It is hard to pick against the Bruins in today’s game.  Both their offense and defense is better than Montréal‘s, and the stands will definitely be filled with rowdy Patriots Bruins fans.  Expect Boston to pick up their first win of the New Year.

December 27 – Day 78 – Bruins try to jump to top of the Atlantic Division

Thanks to a clutch save from Jake Allen in the ninth round of the shutout, the St. Louis Blues were able to claim the extra point over the Dallas Stars in last night’s Game of the Day.

After playing a scoreless 26:18, First Star of the Game Alexander Steen scored a power play goal, assisted by Kevin Shattenkirk and Third Star Vladimir Tarasenko, to give the Blues a one-goal lead.  It was short-lived though, as Cody Eakin and Jamie Benn assisted Colton Sceviour to knot the score at one-all.  The Stars scored their second and final goal of regulation with only 37 seconds remaining in the period when Patrick Sharp and Alex Goligoski assisted Tyler Seguin to his 20th goal of the season, giving Dallas a 2-1 lead going into the second intermission.

The Blues waited to score the game-tying goal until only 1:50 remained in regulation, as Jay Bouwmeester and David Backes assisted Second Star Robby Fabbri to send the game to overtime and, ultimately, the shoutout.

While he won’t get a goal added to his season total, Backes scored the final goal of the shootout, but it was Allen, who made the save on Vernon Fiddler’s shot, who secured the Blues‘ victory.

Allen improves his record to 17-8-2 with the win, saving 22 of 24 (91.7%), while Antti Niemi’s record falls to 15-5-3, saving 35 of 37 (94.6%).

The DtFR Game of the Day Series now stands at 30-12-6, favoring the home squad by 26 points.  Last night’s game was the second straight that required a shootout, as Ottawa beat Florida on Tuesday, the last day of action before the Christmas break.

Tonight’s schedule consists of nine games, with the action getting started at 5 p.m. eastern when Boston visits Ottawa (RDS2).  Three games follow at 6 p.m. eastern (Columbus at Florida, Toronto at the New York Islanders [TVAS/SN] and St. Louis at Dallas), trailed an hour later by Carolina at Chicago.  Three games get started at 8 p.m. eastern (Pittsburgh at Winnipeg, Arizona at Colorado and Philadelphia at Anaheim), and the nightcap follows an hour later when Edmonton visits Calgary (SN).

Three of tonight’s games are between divisional rivals (Boston at Ottawa, St. Louis at Dallas and Edmonton at Calgary), while two of those are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (sorry EdmontonCalgary!).  Even though Dallas and St. Louis just played last night and should carry over a lot of emotion, the BostonOttawa game has a more immediate effect on the standings.

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This will be both teams’ fifth time featured in the DtFR Game of the Day series, where they both have a 1-2-1 record.  The lone time the Bruins were the road squad in the series was November 7 then they visited Montréal – they lost 4-2.  Ottawa has been the home side twice, winning their most recent game 4-2 over the Sharks (December 18), but losing 3-1 on October 11 against the Canadiens.

The 19-11-4 Boston Bruins currently sit third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference.  They are currently riding a two-game losing skid, their most recent showing being a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres.  Don’t let those recent results fool you, though: Boston has been a quietly good team this season, especially on the offensive end of the ice.

Led by Patrice Bergeron’s 110 shots, the Bruins have accounted for 1018 attempts so far this season.  Exactly 10%, a significant portion, of those shots have found the back of the net for 102 goals, led by Brad Marchand’s 15.  Especially strong for Boston has been their power play.  Of the 90 opportunities the Bruins have been given, they’ve scored 26 goals (led by Loui Eriksson’s seven) for a 28.89% success rate.  Although it is always wise to avoid penalties, Ottawa should probably take special care to avoid the box this evening, as Boston has a knack for making teams pay.

While the defense started the season playing very poorly, they have clamped down to give up only 84 goals to date.  The main reason for this has not been so much the play of 13-8-3 Tuukka Rask and co., but the defense allowing only 959 shots to reach net (led by Adam McQuaid’s 56 blocks).  Although the penalty kill has been only average (currently killing 81.36%), it has gotten in on the goal-scoring.  When shorthanded, the Bruins have scored six times already this season, well above the league average of two.

The 17-12-6 Ottawa Senators currently hold the second wild card position as the fifth-best team in the Atlantic Division and eighth-best in the Eastern Conference.  Similar to their New England opponent, the Senators are also riding a two-game losing skid, with their most recent game a 2-1 shootout loss at Florida on Tuesday.  I know I sound like a broken record when I talk about Ottawa, but their offense and goaltending have had to cover up for the poor defensive play on a regular basis this season.

I usually try to start with a positive, and Ottawa‘s offense is certainly one.  Thanks in no part to only 969 shots put on net (led by Mike Hoffman’s 95), the Sens have scored 102 goals so far this season, led by  Hoffman’s 17 tallies.  While in no way as strong as Boston‘s, Ottawa‘s power play has been better than average, as they’ve scored 21 (led by Hoffman’s four) on 108 attempts for a 19.4% success rate.

The other end of the ice has not been quite as spectacular.  Although Erik Karlsson already has 71 blocks this season, the Sens have allowed 1180 shots to reach 15-9-4 Craig Anderson and co., who have a combined 92% save percentage, only half a percent above league average.  In addition to allowing too many shots into the crease, the penalty kill is also not going Ottawa‘s way.  They’ve allowed 26 goals on 118 attempts, killing only 77.97%.  If the defense could do more to improve these two statistics, they could be considered a significant threat for the cup this season.  Until then, Ottawa can only be considered a playoff stepping stone.

Some players to watch in tonight’s game include Boston‘s Rask (four shutouts [tied for third in the league]) & Ottawa‘s Anderson (15 wins [tied for sixth in the league]), Hoffman (17 goals [tied for sixth in the league]) and Karlsson (29 assists [tied for league lead] and 38 points [sixth in the league]).

Given Ottawa‘s poor defense and penalty kill, it is hard to pick against the Bruins, even if they are the visiting team.  I expect Boston to jump into the division lead with a win tonight.

October 21 – Day 15 – Hey, hockey on TV is hockey on TV

Last night’s Game of the Day contested between St. Louis and Montréal ended with the Habs claiming their seventh straight victory, this one a three-goal shutout.

Max Pacioretty accounted for the game-winner with under 90 seconds remaining in the first period.  Assisted by Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, he redirected a shot past Jake Allen to set the score at 1-0, which would hold into the intermission.  Alexander Semin and Torrey Mitchell accounted for the insurance tallies in the second and third periods, respectively.

Carey Price stopped all 38 shots he faced to earn another shutout, while Allen takes the loss after stopping only 33 of 36 shots faced (91.7%).

The Game of the Day series now stands at 8-5-1 for the homers, leading the roadies by five points.

Tonight’s schedule is relatively light, with only four games being played.  The evening begins at 7 p.m. eastern when Toronto visits Buffalo, followed an hour later by Philadelphia at Boston (NBCSN).  At 9:30 p.m. eastern, the opening puck is dropped in Alberta when Detroit visits Edmonton, followed half an hour later by the final fixture of the evening: Carolina at Colorado.

Tonight’s Game of the Day, you ask?  We’ll keep it simple tonight and go with Philly at the B’s.

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Just in case you’re wondering: Yes, I did choose this one because it’s on national TV in the US.  Deal with it.

Philadelphia‘s last game was against the Dallas Stars, who beat them 2-1 in the Wells Fargo Center.  After giving up a goal in each of the first two periods, the Flyers could only manage to narrow the margin to one at the 8:57 mark in the final third.  Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read assisted Sean Couturier to his first goal of the season, earning him third star of the night honors.

Boston returns home to the TD Garden on a two-game winning streak after beating the Coyotes 5-3 in Arizona on Saturday in a thrilling third period.  Shane Doan scored the first goal of the game after only two minutes of play to set the score at a one-goal advantage for the Yotes, which held into the second period.  Boston tied it up at the 8:42 mark with a Tyler Randell goal, assisted by David Krejci  and Torey Krug.  The second and final goal of the period belonged to Krejci in the 16th minute, assisted by Krug and Loui Eriksson on the power play.  The fireworks in the final period began at the 4:44 mark when Brad Marchand, assisted by Tommy Cross and Patrice Bergeron, scored a shorty to set the score at 3-1.  Boston‘s good fortunes were short-lived though, as Tobias Rieder, assisted by Doan and Michael Stone, narrowed the margin to one only 13 seconds later.  2:24 later, Arizona tied the game at three-all with a goal from Kyle Chipchura, assisted by Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.  The B’s winner came 1:49 later on the power play when Ryan Spooner and Krejci assisted Bergeron to his second goal of the season.  Bergeron also accounted for the lone insurance goal (he wanted to make sure he got the winner, I guess) on another power play, this time assisted by Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller at the 18:54 mark.

Some players to watch in this one include Boston‘s Krejci (nine points [tied for third in the league] and five assists [tied for eighth in the league]) & Krug (six assists [tied for fourth in the league]) and Philadelphia‘s Michal Neuvirth (two shutouts [tied for league lead], .964 save percentage [fifth in the league] and 1.04 GA average [seventh in the league]).

Boston has a -141 advantage in this one, so I’ll go with the home team earning their third straight game in our series.