In the first half of this weekend’s back to back the Bruins will put their five game winning streak on the line against a defensively stout Arizona Coyotes team. The Bruins have come on strong since the All Star break, winning their first four games back in action and are now leading the league with 78 points. On the flip side Arizona just ended a five game losing streak Tuesday night, beating the Oilers 3-0. The Coyotes did lose on Thursday against the Hurricanes, but remain just four points out of first in the Pacific division, and stand at seventh place in the West.
If the Bruins continue to alternate their starting goalies Rask will be in line for the Saturday afternoon start. Rask has been almost unbeatable this season, posting a 19-4-6 record including three shutouts, a goals against average of 2.15 and a save percentage of .929. Rask will also be looking for consecutive shutouts, after blanking the Canucks in his last start. Likely in net for Arizona will be Antti Raanta, who also had a shut out earlier this week, but then gave up four goals on 30 shots in his last start. Raanta has a record of 10-12-3 with two shutouts, a goals against average of 2.86 and a surprising save percentage at .915. Raanta has struggled most of the year to stay healthy, and has had some consistency issues. But he is still talented enough to steal some games, especially with a defensive minded team like Arizona in front of him.
Players to Watch
Now just because Arizona has a defense first mentality doesn’t mean they can’t pile up goals in a hurry. With superstar forward Taylor Hall, as well as Phil Kessel, our defense and the Bergeron line will be in for a busy night. With the top line spending much of its energy trying to stop the Coyotes top forwards, much of the offensive responsibility will fall on the second line. The team shouldn’t miss a beat. Both Debrusk and Krejci have been on fire recently, with Debrusk scoring six points in his last six games and Krejci scoring eight point in his last seven games. Arizona has suffered some injuries on the defensive side, notably to Jason Demers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, which will undoubtedly put some pressure on their other top defensemen. While we have a clear edge in scoring ability and depth, Arizona does have some under the radar players who are having very good seasons. Conor Garland is currently leading the team in goals with 18, and Nick Schmaltz is leading the team in points with 39 and assists with 31.
The players mentioned above are just a few of the very talented players taking the ice alongside all the household names we will be tuning in to watch. Puck drop will be just after 3pm eastern time, not the usual 1pm start time, so keep that in mind while looking for the game. I would advise that you get some popcorn ready, because this should be a great game between two teams that have deep playoff run aspirations.
Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press