Bruins-Anaheim Ducks Game Preview February 21st, 2017

The Bruins come into tonight’s game riding a season-high four-game winning streak following the firing of former head coach Claude Julien. This game tonight is the second of a four-game road trip and a first of a back to back as they will take on the Kings tomorrow night in Los Angeles. With Toronto’s victory last night the Bruins were knocked out of the playoff structure and are currently sitting in a three way tie with the Florida Panthers and the New York Islanders for the second and final wild card spot(Florida holds the tiebreaker having played one fewer game than both the B’s and Isles).

Records:

Ducks:

31-20-10, 72 Points(3rd in Pacific Division)

Bruins:

30-23-6, 66 Points(5th in Atlantic Division)

Keys to the Game:

Quick Start: With a home record of 18-7-3, the Ducks are incredibly tough to beat at Honda Center and the best way to combat this is by scoring first and scoring early. The Bruins need to get off to a strong start the way they did Sunday night in San Jose as they outshot the Sharks 9-7 and took a 1-0 lead into the room thanks to a goal by Ryan Spooner. The energy needs to be there tonight as the standings have gotten even more packed. Look for a big early shift from the Bergeron or Krejci line.

Limit Ducks Speed in the Neutral Zone: Anaheim plays fast and physical and is at its best when they can get speed through the neutral zone. With offensive defenseman like Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen, expect the Ducks to play uptempo to keep the B’s on their heels. Brandon Carlo needs to be at his best tonight to try to slow this speedy team down as well as the two Millers, Colin and Kevan who have been playing their best hockey of the season as of late. The Bruins need to be physical with the Ducks and with Matt Beleskey back in the lineup against his former team, expect this game to be a grind.

Players to Watch:

Brad Marchand: With 14 points in his last ten games, Marchand has been the B’s go-to player recently and is currently tied for seventh in the NHL in scoring. Look for him to be at his best tonight, getting under the skin of the Ducks and hopefully continuing his torrid pace.

Colin Miller: Perhaps the player that has most benefited from Cassidy’s change of approach, Miller has been very reliable especially with more ice time and looks to be very comfortable becoming more involved in the offensive zone. His booming slap shot is a huge weapon and look for him to get a big look on the powerplay tonight. His defensive play will be important tonight as the B’s take on the likes of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

Prediction:

Bruins take it 4-3 in overtime in a back and forth game that sees leads for both teams. David Krejci nets the winner, putting his final touches on a 3 point night.

Projected Lines:

BOS

Marchand-Bergeron-Backes

Cehlarik-Krejci-Pastrnak

Hayes-Spooner-Vatrano

Beleskey-Moore-Nash

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

C. Miller-K. Miller

Rask

ANA

Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg

Ritchie-Getzlaf-Kase

Cramarossa-Rakell-Perry

Shaw-Thompson-Boll

Fowler-Vatanen

Lindholm-Manson

Holzer-Bieksa

Bernier

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