Preview: Bruins vs Flames

Preview: Bruins vs Flames

The Bruins head into yet another weekend of back to backs starting tonight against the Calgary Flames. The Bruins are still the top team in the NHL with 88 points. After an overtime win against the Oilers to start the western Canada trip the Bruins are looking for their fifth straight win. The Flames are currently tied for the second wild-card spot out west. In their last ten games Calgary is 5-5 and will be looking for a win to gain some momentum in a tightly contested Pacific division. Only four points out of first, a win against the NHL’s best team could go a long way towards Calgary making a run in their last 20 games.

Starting Goalies

With the back to back and Rask just playing against the Oilers it’s likely Halak will get the start for the Bruins. Halak on the season is 15-6-6 with a 2.31 goals against and a .922 save percentage. While Halak has had a lighter workload recently, he is still going for his fifth straight win. In his previous four games Halak has been on a roll, only allowing five goals. For the Flames Cam Talbot will be getting the start, sitting at 9-9-1 with a 2.77 goals against and a .917 save percentage. Talbot had a shutout just a few starts ago, but in his last two games gave up four goals in each. Talbot is a capable goalie who has been better on the year than his numbers would suggest. The Bruins will need to remain patient with their scoring chances if Talbot gets off to a hot start.

Players to Watch

For the Bruins the top line has been on fire, but one player to keep an eye on is Charlie McAvoy. The young defenseman struggled offensively to start the season but has been a big part of the Bruins recent run. With seven points in his last eight games and a plus ten rating, McAvoy has turned his game on at the right time for the playoff push. Another player to watch is the other Charlie, Charlie Coyle. Coyle has been on fire recently with six points in his last eight games and a plus seven rating. Coyle has been the engine driving the Bruins third line, and his hard work and defensive plays have inspired the team as a whole. For the Flames Andrew Mangiapane has been on fire in his last five games with seven points. Another player to watch for Calgary is Elias Lindholm who has scored five goals in his last five games. Lindholm had a career season last year, but has not been able to repeat those numbers. This recent stretch may be a sign of him returning to form.

Final Thoughts

While the Bruins have their big three the Flames have their own version in Gaudreau, Monahan, and Tkachuk. That trio will be the Bruins main focus defensively whenever they are on the ice. The Bruins need to get off to a fast start and take the lead reasonably early. With another game the following day, being able to roll all four lines will go a long way to keeping the legs fresh. The Bruins will also not want to give up as many power plays as they have in their last two games. While the Flames power play is ranked 16th in the league, they have plenty of firepower to put the puck in the net. As many of you may have heard the Bruins are in the process of completing a trade with the Ducks, and as the details come out we will keep you up to date on what we learn. Don’t forget to check out the other team pages with the NBA playoffs coming up, spring training underway, and obviously the Brady watch on high alert.

Featured image courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images North America

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