The Nashville Predators are back in action—and on the road—today after a sloppy loss to a badly-depleted Buffalo Sabres team. Today’s opponent: the Boston Bruins, who’ve had a very strong January so far (only one loss in 2022).
The Bruins are missing numerous players to COVID-19 protocol and with other injuries, but the big names are currently expected to play. Brad Marchand leads the team in offensive production in all three categories: 41 points, 19 goals, 22 assists. David Pastrnak trails him with 30 points and 16 goals, while Patrice Bergeron’s 17 assists are good for second on the team and his 28 points are good for third. Taylor Hall, who I keep forgetting is in Boston now, is fourth on the team in points. Former Pred Craig Smith is also there (he has 12).
Much has been made of Tuukka Rask’s return to the NHL; he had a .926 sv% in his one game this season (a win). Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman have taken on the bulk of the Bruins’ goaltending duties, posting near-identical sv%s (.919 for Ullmark, .918 for Swayman) over a near-identical number of games (17 for Ullmark, 16 for Swayman). The 23-year-old Swayman has had a swingier performance than Ullmark, with more games tilting toward the good and the bad than the middle.
At 5v5, the Bruins play stifling team defense—best in the league by a wide margin—with effective team offense, though they’ve had some bad luck with shooting percentages. There is a black hole in front of their goal, and it’s no doubt helped their goalies out enormously. Their special teams have also been very effective, with a suffocating penalty kill and aggressive power play. This will be a challenging matchup for the Preds, but a very sweet victory if they can pull it off.
How to Watch
The game airs at noon on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.