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PREVIEW: Boston Bruins host Arizona Coyotes

A good opportunity to leave the loss behind, and get back on track.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Boston Bruins
Prince Patrice surveys all, and owns all he surveys.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Just The Facts:

What: The Arizona Coyotes (7-18-5, 19pts, 8th in PAC) visit the Boston Bruins (12-9-4, 28pts, 4th in ATL)

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

Why do you care: Boston has an opportunity to rebound from what COULD have been a demoralizing away-game loss. Arizona, meanwhile, is only hot off the ice.

Where to watch: NESN, FS-A

Where to listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Preview

Losing to Nashville was tough, but enlightening. The Bruins were down 4-0 after just over a period played, and managed to work back to a one-goal game before the Predators woke up again. For the Youth Movement to succeed, the rookies still on the majors roster will have to learn quickly.

Arizona’s 17-18 season has been a rough go of things. The Coyotes have an odd collection mostly comprised of rookie-ish potential stars (Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Dylan Strome, and six more players born since 1993); a few presently-useful players (Derek Stepan, Niklas Hjalmarsson), this blog’s favorite ex-Bruin Zac Rinaldo, and... two goalies.

The challenge here for the trial-by-fire Bruins is to stay focused. The team is mostly healthy now. Bottom-six competition is hot fire - Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano are officially on notice now that mainstays David Krejci, Ryan Spooner and David Backes are back and several rookies are making a strong case. If Jake DeBrusk and Peter Cehlarik are ready to go in the near future, there will likely be waiver-eligible players heading back to Providence - but, for how long? If others want to stay in the big leagues, they need to show gusto against every team, and the Coyotes are here to play.

Players to Watch:

  • With two players in DeBrusk and Cehlarik (who may not be back right away, because knees) on the horizon, Anders Bjork should be on the hot seat. Danton Heinen has played well of late and is higher on the depth chart, at least for today.
  • Likewise on defense: if Adam McQuaid is nearing a return, does Matt Grzelcyk have to be sent down by default? He’s looked pretty good, but needs to play well to force McQuaid down the depth chart. (The B’s would have to carry 8 defensemen, so look for McQuaid to tap in once he’s ready to go.
  • Riley Nash takes the body AND plays the puck - and is rewarded for it with points. He’s doing a yeoman’s job in plugging the holes at center. <- Third time I’ll leave it there. Still true. Deal with it.
  • With Antti Raanta and Scott Wedgewood both under .500, let’s watch whomever starts this game just to see how many shots they get. 35+? 40+?
  • Like Nashville, Arizona’s defense has a bit of a hole with an assistant captain in Niklas Hjalmarsson on the bench due to injury. In Arizona’s previous game, there was little that the Coyotes could do to stop the offensive onslaught of... Las Vegas.

NEVER 4GET:

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, to fall 2015 -

David Krejci League-Leading Scorer, Jimmy Hayes Does a Thing, Joe Morrow’s First of the Season, The Ageless Brett Connolly, Marchand Pots Two. Ah, that new-hockey smell.