Preview: Coyotes at Bruins
The Boston Bruins limped into the All-Star break but they are playing some of their best hockey of the season since returning from a nine-day layoff. The Bruins will be bidding to stretch their winning streak to six games in Saturday afternoon's matchup against the visiting Arizona Coyotes, a team they have not lost to in nearly 10 years.
Boston has outscored the opposition 14-3 in the four games since returning from the break after posting a 2-1 overtime victory at Chicago on Wednesday to move one point ahead of Washington for the league lead. "We’re starting to gear up for what’s to come after the regular season and you’re starting to see it with our team defense,” blue-liner Torey Krug said. "There’s a lot of games left to be played, so it’s going to be tough to keep this up. But we’ll try to continue it." The Bruins have dominated the series, winning 15 consecutive meetings dating to October 2010 against the Coyotes, who are clinging to the second wild card as they open a four-game road trip against Atlantic Division foes. "We've got a big-time road trip coming up, we definitely need to get going here and get these points," forward Conor Garland said after Thursday's 5-3 setback to Carolina -- Arizona's ninth defeat in 11 games (2-6-3).
TIME: 3 p.m. ET. TV: NESN, FS Arizona, FS Arizona-Plus
ABOUT THE COYOTES (27-22-7): A lack of offense has contributed mightily to the tailspin of Arizona, which has failed to produce more than three goals in seven consecutive contests and 10 of the last 11 to tumble down the Pacific Division standings. Garland has been one of the few constants offensively, scoring in each of the past three games to take over the team lead with 19 goals. Among the many players mired in a funk is third-year forward Clayton Keller, who has managed only a single assist over the past dozen games.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (33-10-12): Defenseman Charlie McAvoy picked an opportune time to end his season-long scoring drought, delivering the decisive goal in overtime Wednesday. “He was still playing very well for us," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "He’s had a little tough luck and at times he’s over-passed a little bit as well. But (in overtime) he had no choice and had to shoot it. I’m happy for him.” Fellow blue-liner Brandon Carlo will miss Saturday's game due to a family matter but is expected to join in team in Detroit on Sunday.
1. Bruins G Tuukka Rask is 11-1-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average versus the Coyotes.
2. Arizona is 1-for-18 on the power play over the past five games.
3. Bruins F Brad Marchand has 11 goals in 16 games versus the Coyotes, including the lone tally in a 1-0 win on Oct. 5.
PREDICTION: Bruins 4, Coyotes 1