WATCH LIVE: Bruins host Canadiens on NBCSN

Leave a comment

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Monday night’s matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

This will be the 746th regular season game between the Canadiens and Bruins. Montreal has won 361 times to Boston’s 281, while there have been 103 ties. These two teams have played more than any other teams in the NHL.

Both teams enter Monday’s matchup playing well. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games, including a 3-2 win at Toronto on Saturday night. Trailing 2-1, Boston scored two straight goals near the end of the secnd period and held off the Maple Leafs in the third to secure the win. The Canadiens kicked off a run of three games in four days on Saturday night with a 3-0 win vs the Avalanche. Carey Price stopped 28 shots to earn his third shutout of the season. It was just the secnd time Colorado has been shut out all season (first time since Oct.).

One of the biggest reasons for the Bruins’ recent success has been the play of goalie Tuukka Rask, who has emerged as the clear top choice between the pipes. Rask is 5-0-0, with a 1.38 goals against average, .955 save percentage and a shutout in his last five starts. His next win will tie him with Tiny Thompson for most wins by a goalie in franchise history.

The Canadiens power play continued to struggle in the 3-0 win vs. the Avalanche. Montreal went 0-for-3 with the man advantage to bring their total to 1-for-20 in the last seven games. They rank last in the NHL in power play percentage, converting on just 12.5 percent of their chances. Head coach Claude Julien also switched up the power-play units hoping to find a solution for the team’s struggles.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

What: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
Where: TD Garden
When: Monday, Jan. 14, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: You can watch the Canadiens-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CANADIENS
Jonathan DrouinPhilip DanaultBrendan Gallagher
Artturi LehkonenMax DomiJoel Armia
Tomas TatarJesperi KotkaniemiPaul Byron
Kenny AgostinoMichael ChaputNicolas Deslauriers

Victor MeteShea Weber
Mike ReillyJeff Petry
Brett KulakJordie Benn

Starting goalie: Carey Price

BRUINS
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciDavid Backes
Sean KuralyNoel AcciariChris Wagner
Danton HeinenJakob Forsbacka KarlssonRyan Donato

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
Torey KrugBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask

John Forslund (play-by-play), AJ Mleczko (analyst) and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from TD Garden in Boston, Mass.

WATCH LIVE: 2019 Winter Classic – Blackhawks vs. Bruins

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the 2019 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET from Notre Dame Stadium. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Both teams enter with momentum having each won 3-2 in OT on Saturday. The Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak with a come-from-behind win against the Buffalo Sabres, while the Blackhawks surrendered a 2-0 lead vs. the Colorado Avalanche before rebounding to win on Patrick Kane’s OT goal – his 50th point of the season.

The Blackhawks are one of five teams that have already fired their head coach this season, after the 2017-18 season saw zero coaches fired during the regular season. Jeremy Colliton has the worst record among the newly appointed coaches, though the team’s play has improved of late

It has been hard for Patrick Kane to replicate the chemistry he had with Artemi Panarin – a combination that led to the two most productive seasons of Kane’s career. Hawks fans are hoping he could be headed towards similar success with Dylan Strome, who was acquired from Arizona in late-November and has settled in on Kane’s line along with Artem Anisimov.

Kane enters this game coming off back-to-back three-point games (hat trick on Thursday, 2G-1A on Saturday), and he’s averaging 1.25 points/game this season. That’s the secnd-most productive rate of his career, behind his MVP-winning season in 2015-16 (1.29 ppg). Strome has 13 points in 17 games with Chicago, including three straight multi-point games entering the Winter Classic.

The Bruins have kept themselves afloat in the first half of the season despite a rash of injuries to top players. It appeared that the team would have a fully healthy lineup for the first time all year coming out of the Christmas break, but Charlie McAvoy suffered a lower-body injury in the final game before the break, and has missed both games since. Brad Marchand also missed Saturday’s game, but he will play Tuesday afternoon. McAvoy will not.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 1 P.M. ET – NBC]

What: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks
Where: Notre Dame Stadium
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
Live stream: You can watch the Blackhawks-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

BRUINS
Brad Marchand – Patrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid Krejci – Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
Danton HeinenSean KuralyChris Wagner
Joakim NordstromColby CaveNoel Acciari / Ryan Donato

Zdeno CharaBrandon Carlo
Torey KrugJohn Moore
Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask

BLACKHAWKS
Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsDominik Kahun
Artem Anisimov – Dylan Strome – Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDavid KampfDylan Sikura
John HaydenMarcus KrugerBrendan Perlini

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson
Gustav ForslingBrent Seabrook
Carl DahlstromConnor Murphy

Starting goalie: Cam Ward

Mike Tirico will host the network’s Winter Classic pre-game coverage alongside the NHL Live studio team of host Kathryn Tappen, and analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick. Six-time Emmy Award-winner and La Fontaine, Ind., native Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk, and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call from Notre Dame Stadium.

Bruins can’t catch a break with injuries

Getty
4 Comments

Just when it seemed like the Boston Bruins were starting to get fully healthy again the injury bug has taken yet another bite out of them.

Defenseman Charlie McAvoy and forward Brad Marchand were both absent from practice on Friday, and while both players will travel for the team on their upcoming road trip to Buffalo, neither is likely to play in Saturday’s game against the Sabres.

McAvoy is technically back on IR, and while that will keep him out of the lineup on Saturday he would still be eligible to play in Tuesday’s Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium.

He missed Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils with a lower-body injury.

Marchand also exited Thursday’s game after taking a high hit in the third period of the Bruins’ loss. His status remains uncertain.

The timing of McAvoy’s latest injury is unfortunate because it came on the same day that the team welcomed back Zdeno Chara following a 19-game absence. Chara and McAvoy are the Bruins’ top two defenders and have already combined to miss 40-man games this season due to injury. They have been in the lineup together for just seven games this season, and none since Oct. 18.

How big of a deal is that for the Bruins? Just consider that duo spent more than 860 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time together last season and were downright dominant when they were on the ice. Now that they can’t even get in the lineup on the same day.

Combine that situation with the 16 games that Patrice Bergeron has missed this season, as well as the 11 games that Torey Krug has missed, and the Bruins have been without four of their top players for an extended portion of the season. In fact, the Bruins have not played a single game this season with all four of them in the lineup together. That streak will continue through at least Saturday with McAvoy now sidelined again. They have only had three of the aforementioned in the lineup together in 17 games this season. They have been without three of them in eight games.

After losing back-to-back games the Bruins find themselves in the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, three points back of the Buffalo team they are playing on Saturday for the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, and four points ahead of the non-playoff teams. It’s probably not where they expected to be at this point in the season, but we also haven’t really seen them at full-strength yet. When you consider the team isn’t overly deep to begin with, especially at forward where the team is largely carried by its usual top-line of Bergeron, Marchand, and David Pastrnak, it is somewhat impressive they have managed to maintain such a strong hold on a playoff spot.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

 

 

The Buzzer: Is it too early to give Pettersson the Calder?

Getty
1 Comment

Three Stars

1. Elias Pettersson

What’s easier: giving Pettersson the top star of Sunday, or just cutting through the red tape and handing him the Calder right now?

OK, the NHL can’t do that. After all, someone might close the 11-point gap between Pettersson (30 points) and every other rookie (Colin White‘s in second with 19), especially if the league is robbed of the glory of more Pettersson in the event of an injury.

His special Sunday really highlighted the gap between the Canucks wunderkind and everyone else. Pettersson scored the game-winning goal to go with four assists for a five-point performance. The kid is special, and you really don’t need the “for a rookie” caveat.

2. Brock Boeser

Normally, it might be best to lean away from placing two teammates in the top three, but sometimes you just have to acknowledge the truth. These two forwards are a blast to watch. The Boeser + Pettersson combo doesn’t merely make the Canucks palatable. If you’re not ready to go, they can absolutely dominate, stealing games for Vancouver in the process.

Boeser collected a hat trick as the Canucks bombarded the Blues by a 6-1 score:

3. Josh Morrissey

This is a tough call, as Morrissey’s teammate Mark Scheifele and Ducks forward Ondrej Kase also deserve serious consideration with their own three-point Sundays.

Morrissey gets the nod because his goal was a game-winner (Scheifele had three assists, while Kase’s goal and two assists lacked the GWG). Granted, it was the GWG in a lopsided game but … hey, we’re splitting hairs, here.

There were some nice goalie performances, yet with Mikko Koskinen being the only guy getting a shutout – and a light one, needings 24 saves – let’s hand the bronze to a skater.

Morrissey celebrated his first game in a week by collecting those three points as the Jets routed the Flyers. Along with the goal and two assists, Morrissey managed a +2 rating, three SOG, and one blocked shot.

Highlights

Admittedly, it’s strange to use the word “harmonious” to describe a hockey play, especially when Brad Marchand is involved. Such a description comes to mind here, though, as Marchand, David Krejci, and Torey Krug combine for an absolutely beautiful overtime game-winner:

While it doesn’t match the sheer beauty of that Krug tally, Connor McDavid scored the only goal of Edmonton’s 1-0 win against Calgary on another nice bit of puck movement:

Sunday featured at least a couple throwback “pad-stacking” saves, including this one by John Gibson:

Not hockey, but if you have even a passing interest in the NFL, this Miami Dolphins play is just bodacious. Honestly, “Miami Miracle” doesn’t even feel too over-the-top.

Lowlight

Here’s not how to help Cory Schneider, a goalie who’s been struggling for quite some time: the Devils were guilty of three own-goals on Sunday, with this one possibly being the most egregious:

Factoids

Montreal’s tight win against Chicago is more impressive when you realize the procession of penalties they faced, particularly during a high-stick-happy third period:

Could Mikko Koskinen be the latest goalie to flourish under Ken Hitchcock? He already started off pretty well for Edmonton, but the “low-event” Oilers have really helped him heat up:

More impressive: Marc-Andre Fleury‘s wins total(s), or his sweet, sweet pads?

Scores

VAN 6 – STL 1
WPG 7 – PHI 1
BOS 2 – OTT 1 (OT)
MTL 3 – CHI 2
ANA 6 – NJD 5 (SO)
VGK 4 – DAL 2
EDM 1 – CGY 0

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Bank shots and three-pointers

Getty

Three Stars

1. Anthony Mantha

You don’t often see someone get the top star in a losing effort, and people can certainly make an argument for a number of players being the standout from Monday’s action.

From here, it’s tough to argue with Mantha’s man-sized night. He tied for the Monday lead with three points via two goals and one assist, and Mantha really asserted himself with a whopping 10 shots on goal.

Despite being in such a high-scoring game and a losing effort, the Red Wings winger managed a +2 rating for the night.

There were other players from Columbus’ 7-5 win against Detroit who have an argument for top billing. Pierre Luc-Dubois generated three points, including the GWG. Then again, one of his points came on an empty-netter, while teammate Artemi Panarin‘s three points happened with a goalie in Detroit’s net.

You could put the trio of Mantha, PLD, and Panarin as the top three, but then you’d really be killing fun.

2. Jonathan Huberdeau

The Panthers needed every one of Huberdeau’s three points to edge the Devils in overtime on Monday.

To start, he grabbed a secondary assist to help Florida get back in the game, as they fell behind 2-0 early. Huberdeau scored the 3-3 goal that sent the contest to overtime, a significant tally that also stands as the 100th of his young NHL career.

(Imagine how many Huberdeau would have – and how many additional wonky Scooby Doo puns we’d experience – if he didn’t deal with occasional injury headaches?)

Mike Hoffman rightfully earned the most attention for his overtime-winner after nearly ending the overtime period moments earlier, yet Huberdeau also collected the primary assist on that OTGWG.

Overall, a very nice outing for a player who’d gain more recognition if he could consistently stay healthy and if the Panthers could enjoy some greater team success.

3. Tom Wilson

This post goes into detail about Wilson’s red-hot start to his season (which was delayed, of course, by that polarizing suspension). Long story short, the hard-hitting Capitals winger generated two goals and one assist in helping Washington beat its former coach Barry Trotz and the Isles.

Wilson finished Monday with six SOG, a +1 rating, two hits, one blocked shot, and won his lone faceoff.

His assist came on Alex Ovechkin‘s empty-netter, so number three he is.

Braden Holtby ranks among the goalies who had arguments for being included, as he shook off an early goal to make 32 saves. Frederik Andersen stopped 38 shots, but did allow two goals; his Maple Leafs teammate Mitch Marner‘s three assists ranks him as an honorable mention (getting dinged ever-so-slightly for one helper being on an ENG).

Highlights of the Night

Again, Hoffman would not be denied. Eventually.

Jack Edwards’ call was almost as impressive as Torey Krug‘s pass on one of David Pastrnak‘s goals from the Bruins’ losing effort:

That was a sweet dish, but this Panarin pass inspired the bank shots/three-pointers headline:

(Hmm, maybe Panarin should be one of the three stars. What do you think?)

Factoids

Patrick Marleau‘s keeping up pretty nicely for a guy who played in his 1,600th(!) NHL regular-season game, eh?

At first, this seems like a goofily specific stat, but it might make people feel better about wondering if we’re experiencing something of a throwback offensive season.

At this rate, Freddy Andersen might just grab a three star nod the next time he faces the Bruins:

Scores

TOR 4 – BOS 2
FLA 4 – NJD 3 (OT)
WSH 4 – NYI 1
NYR 4 – OTT 2
CBJ 7 – DET 5

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.