Just The Facts:
What: The Boston Bruins (4-3-3, 11pts, 4th in ATL) host the Las Vegas Golden Knights (8-2-0, 16pts, 2nd in PAC)
When: 7:00 PM EST
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Why do you care: A more sustained effort late in their last game gives some cause for cautious optimism, as the B’s hope to avenge what was a wasted third-period comeback on Monday.
Where to watch: TVAS, SN, SN360, NESN, ATTSN-RM
Where to listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub
The Bruins staged a third-period rally on Monday only to lose in the shootout, but what’s encouraging is that it wasn’t necessarily a ‘gritty’ comeback - dirty areas and all that - but a smarter, calculated-pressure attack that left several sharpshooters open in great scoring areas. Too little, too late in the last two games, though the Bruins are showing a bit more control in getting the puck to high-chance scoring areas. If the Bruins can get the puck inside on a team with no residual chemistry on the back end, they may be able to unravel Vegas quickly.
The Golden Knights, meanwhile, has been keeping pace with the top of the Western Conference. They’ve had a few falling-back-to-earth moments recently, with their second regulation loss on Saturday to the New York Islanders followed by a catastrophic implosion against the New York Rangers on Tuesday for their third. However, even in the losses, Vegas has been great at attacking over the blue line - as it looks like they’re slowing up and going to try to jam an entry through a stacked-up defense, they pass it short and quick to gain the line and usually get a skater down the boards before the defenseman can fully react.
Players to Watch:
- Charlie McAvoy is playing as previewed - through ten games, he has a 1-6--7 scoring line and is having a strong impact on the B’s efforts in driving play, ranking top-6 on the team in CF%.
- The usual suspects - Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak - top the scoresheet for the B’s, but look who’s knocking... Anders Bjork and McAvoy are next for top scorers on the team, and Danton Heinen was buzzing again against Columbus.
- Just when it looked like someone would return from injury, Zane McIntyre could barely get out of the car in Providence before returning to likely back up Tuukka Rask in place of possibly-still-injured Anton Khudobin. The loss of David Backes for 2 months stings bad, but on a positive note we’ll get to see more of newcomer Jordan Szwarz.
- For Vegas, William Karlsson has scored three goals in five games is dangerous on the penalty kill. The B’s would be keen to use caution in overloading the PP with entirely-offensive talent.
- Reilly Smith had two goals against the Rangers and has nine points in eleven games. Colin Miller has two goals and eight points in eleven games, playing mostly on the third pairing. Kevan Miller missed one game with an upper body injury after a fight and was ejected from another for... fighting.
- Vegas is on their fourth-string goalie, a newcomer named Maxime Lagace - while Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban, and Oscar Dansk on injured reserve.
- This is Vegas’ third game in four nights; the B’s have had three days ‘off’.
Forget? I barely remember that Las Vegas has a team some days.