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Preview: Bruins face league-leading Avalanche in matinee showdown

The Bruins are likely going to have a challenging afternoon against the current best team in the NHL.

Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Today, 1:00 PM

Where: TD Garden – Boston, MA

How to follow: NESN, SN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Mile High Hockey

Know your enemy

  • 36-9-4, 76PTS, 1st in Central Division and current best record in NHL
  • Nazem Kadri: 46GP, 21G, 42A, 63PTS; Mikko Rantanen: 46GP, 26G, 32A, 58PTS; Cale Makar: 45GP, 18G, 32A, 50PTS
  • Darcy Kuemper: 25-5-2, 2.40 GAA, .920 save percentage; Pavel Francouz: 7-2-0, 2.39 GAA, .921 save percentage

Game notes

  • The Boston Bruins are back home against the league-leading Colorado Avalanche for a Presidents Day matinee! This afternoon’s match is the B’s only home game for two weeks before they head out west for a six-game road trip.
  • It’s also thankfully Brad Marchand’s last game served of his six-game suspension.
  • It’s definitely going to be a challenging afternoon for the B’s against a very solid Avalanche team. They have two of the top point leaders in the NHL in Kadri (63 points) and Rantanen (58 points). Colorado holds an eight-point lead in their division and over the Western Conference and three-point advantage in overall league standings.
  • The Bruins last saw the Avalanche on January 26. In the road game, the Bruins had a 3-1 lead on a three-goal second period, but Colorado scored two in the third to force overtime. Makar ended the game for the Avalanche in OT on the power play to hand the Bruins a 4-3 loss. Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle and Marchand netted the Bruins’ goals.
  • The B’s are coming off a 2-1-1 road trip with hopefully some confidence built on Saturday’s win. The Bruins dropped Thursday’s game (February 17) to the New York Islanders, 4-1, on a second-period rally that they couldn’t match. But the Bruins managed to end the road trip with a 3-2 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators on February 19. After leading 2-1 with less than four minutes left in the third, the Senators tied the game. David Pastrnak salvaged a win for the B’s with a one-timer in OT.
  • Besides capping off the road trip on a good note, Pastrnak’s OT ringer also gave the forward his first point in four games. After registering points in 10 of 11 games, Pastrnak said he got a little away from shooting those last few games. After registering eight shots in the win on February 12, he had only a handful of shots (three, three and then four) in the next three games.
  • The road trip lacked some consistency throughout the lineup – which wasn’t helped from a few key forwards out for some games. But Coyle came away with three points on one goal and two assists during the four games, while Mike Reilly accumulated three assists in the last two games.
  • The Bruins didn’t get many power-play opportunities during the last four games and came up short on all five chances. On the flip-side, the Bruins’ penalty kill allowed only one goal on seven of their opponent’s power plays.
  • The Avalanche are 4-1-1 in their last six games. This is game three of a four-game road trip for Colorado, in which they are 2-0-0. In both games, they beat their opponents by two goals.
  • The Avalanche last played on Saturday February 19 against the Buffalo Sabres. The game was tied at 3-3 heading into the third period where Alex Newhook and Rantanen gave Colorado the edge to make the final score 5-3 Avs. Kuemper made 29 saves in the win.
  • For Colorado, Makar is on a four-game point streak with six assists. Gabriel Landeskog has four goals in his last five games, which includes two game-winners.
  • Bruce Cassidy said Jeremy Swayman will likely start in net today and Derek Forbort will be back in the lineup after sitting on Saturday.

See ya soon!