The Bruins are heading west for a three game road trip against the Avalanche, Stars, and Coyotes. All of these teams are playoff caliber teams. The leaky holes in the Bruins’ unhealthy defense and the lack of production could play a major factor on this road trip. With the return of Tuukka Rask and potential return of Brandon Carlo, do the Bruins have what it takes to extend their win streak?
First up: Colorado Avalanche ( 5th in Central Division )
I would consider this the biggest threat of the road trip. The Avs’ first line is an absolute powerhouse with a total of 69 points between them. The Bruins’ first line is working with 68 points. Center Nathan MacKinnon averages around 22 minutes a night. David Pastrnak leads Bruins forwards with 18:51 per game. The only other players playing that many minutes are defensemen. The Bruins have their work cut out for them.
Smack dab in the middle: Dallas Stars ( 4th in Central Division )
The Bruins and Stars meet for the second time this month. The Bruins took the win in overtime back in Boston on the 5th. Rask allowed just one goal that game. It’s unclear if Tuukka Rask will be starting against Dallas or Arizona. Bruce Cassidy may want to hold off on starting Rask until Carlo returns. Carlo seems to play harder when Rask is in net. It’ll be interesting to see if that dynamic continues once both return to the ice.
Scoring first might be the key for the Stars. They’re 8-3-2 when they do so. If the Bruins play their cards right between scoring and defense, they could secure those two points. The Bruins’ defense has the ability to outsmart and outplay the Stars. Again, we’ll have to wait to see if Rask or Halak gets the start.
Closing it out against the Coyotes ( 5th in Pacific Division )
There’s big news coming out of Arizona. No, it’s not that the Yotes are sitting one game above .500. Defenseman Jakob Chychrun is coming off of IR having just signed a six year deal. Exact details have yet to be released, but its been reported that the AAV is estimated to be $4.6m.
The Coyotes are struggling offensively. Their forwards have a point total of 53. That’s considerably less than the Bruins first line alone. This could be the game Rask starts. It would be a nice rehab start and could help him gain some momentum.
The Bruins are on the mend and shaking off the dust. There is hope that Kevan Miller will return to the lineup next week against Detroit, which means big things for the defense. Danton Heinen seems to have gotten in a grove as well. Is Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson the key to that third line? There are more questions than answers right now and this road trip could answer many of them.