Bruins @ Senators
Prev game : @Canucks, Saturday, October 20th
Cold : Tuukka Rask - .875 SV%
Injured : Torey Krug (IR), Kevan Miller (DTD), David Backes (DTD), Charlie McAvoy (DTD)
It will be interesting to see how the Boston Bruins start this game off. They’re coming off their Western Canada trip, where they lost three in a row. If they come out strong, they’ll be “hungry to salvage the road trip”. If they don’t, they’re “wanting the trip to end, with one eye on home”.
Simply saying three losses in a row probably isn’t giving the Bruins proper credit. They were run over by the Flames to a certain extent, but generally outplayed the Oilers and Canucks and OT can generally go either way. And while those western swings can take a toll on a team in their first game back in the East, they’ve had a two day break to help reduce that - and that’s often talked about for the first game home.
Tuukka Rask’s hold on the net may be a little shaky right now, and the leash short. He laid a stinker in Calgary, and sat the other two games. Edmonton was part of a back-to-back so Jaroslav Halak was probably getting that game anyways, but didn’t post much better numbers in that game and got the net in Vancouver anyways.
Up front, the Bruins remain a top-heavy team. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak individually account for 16 of the Bruins 27 goals, and at least one of them has been on for 20 of the 27. Together as a line, they’ve been on the ice for a little under a quarter of the ice time but have over half the goals. Beat the first line and you’ve got a good chance of beating the team.
Senators @ Avalanche
Prev game : Lightning, Wednesday, October 24th
Cold : -
Injured : Conor Timmins (IR), Anton Lindholm (IR), JT Compher (IR)
It’s been a solid start for the Colorado Avalanche. They’ve only lost one game in regulation so far, and are sitting second in the league behind their division-mate Nashville thanks to one more game played. They’re also leading the league in goal differential - in raw counts, per game, and per 60 minutes of play.
They’ve got the third most successful penalty kill so far, and while their power play is ranked a little lower at 9th it’s over 27% so it is hardly unsuccessful.
On the flip side, they’re also riding the league’s third highest 5 on 5 save percentage, and their penalty kill is largely built on that same ground. On the PK, they’re near the bottom of the league for shot attempts, shots on net and scoring chances against per 60 minutes and the second highest PK SV% at .950. So far in this short season, Philipp Grubauer is putting up starters numbers and Semyon Varlamov is putting up Vezina numbers.
Like the Bruins, watch out for that top line. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog have been on the ice together for 18 of the 33 goals so far this season, and three more were scored with two of the three on the ice. At 5 on 5, the only player outside that trio has managed more than two points so far is Carl Soderberg with three.
Senators @ Golden Knights
Sportsnet One, TVA Sports
Prev game : Lightning, Friday, October 26th
Cold : Max Pacioretty - 0P in last 6 GP
Injured : David Clarkson (IR), Alex Tuch (IR), Paul Stastny (IR), Deryk Engelland (DTD)
Bit of a difference in a year - last year, we were asking how long the Golden Knights could keep it up, after five wins in their first six games. This season they’re sitting at .500 after 8 games, with only 17 goals to the 20 they had on this date last season.
Goaltending hasn’t been where it needs to be for success this year. Marc-Andre Fleury is barely above .900, and if it holds a this level across the entire season it’ll be his worst season since 05-06. This again is in contrast to last season, when they had the parade of goalie injuries and their fourth stringer posted a .946 in four games.
Max Pacioretty, the Knights big off-season acquisition, has been ice cold to start with his new team. His sole point was a goal in game number two. Part of it is his 4.35% shooting which is bound to go up at some point, but the total lack of assists through 8 games might be a little concerning for Vegas fans.
Speaking of goals going down, William Karlsson is scoring goals at under half the rate he did last season - and that’s with a maybe-still-high 13.33 SH%. He’s making up for it though, as his rate of primary assists has nearly tripled early on. That’s to Jonathan Marchessault’s benefit, who already has 3 goals off of Karlsson assists compared to 11 for the entire season last year.