Boston Bruins at Arizona Coyotes
When and Where: Saturday, Nov. 17, Gila River Arena, Glendale, Ariz., 8:05 p.m. EST.
The Arizona Coyotes hope to catch a Bruins team that may be lagging on the back end of games on consecutive nights Saturday when they try to end a 12-game losing streak to Boston.
Bruins continue busy stretch of hockey
Boston (10-6-2) is playing on back-to-back nights for the second time in a seven-day span. The Bruins are 0-1-1 on their four-game road trip after a 1-0 overtime loss at Colorado on Friday night.
Tuukka Rask made 36 saves, but could not withstand a six-shot barrage in overtime as Jason Dickinson scored 94 seconds into the extra period.
David Pastrnak had a three-game goal-scoring streak end, but he still leads the league with 17 tallies. He has five goals and three assists in his last four contests and has recorded six multipoint games on the season.
.@SASsoftware Stat of the Week: David Pastrnak scored his 17th goal on Wednesday in just his 18th game this season.
That's the fastest 17 goals by a Bruin since Peter McNab scored 17 in his first 18 contests in 1976-77. pic.twitter.com/gZLritlgIW
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 16, 2018
Top-line center Patrice Bergeron is questionable for this game with an upper-body injury. Bergeron has been a key reason Pastrnak has gotten off to such a great start, posting team highs of 17 assists and 26 points.
One reason for the defensive issues is Boston is without five of its blue liners from its opening day roster, most notably veteran Zdeno Chara (leg) and Charlie McAvoy (concussion). The Bruins were going to give their NHL debuts to Connor Clifton and Jakub Zbouril on Friday night, the first time that has happened for them since October 2016.
Halak started the previous four contests before Friday, turning in two solid outings in which he allowed two goals with two shaky ones in which he let in 11. He is 8-3-2 with a 2.o8 goals-against average and one shutout in 13 career starts versus Arizona and 7-1-2 in the last 10.
Coyotes seek first victory over Bruins since 2010
It has been more than eight years and a previous name of its home arena since the Coyotes (9-8-1) last defeated the Bruins, recording a 5-2 road victory Oct. 9, 2010, during defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson‘s rookie season.
Arizona has gone 0-11-1 against Boston since that win, getting outscored 49-15 in those defeats. The Coyotes have dropped seven straight at home (0-6-1) to the Bruins, losing the last five in regulation, and been outscored 27-11 in those defeats in the Southwest.
The Coyotes are trying to win for the fifth time in six home games after frustrating Nashville in a 2-1 victory Thursday night. Darcy Kuemper, who has been filling in while Antti Raanta has been sidelined with a lower-body injury, finished with a career-high 45 saves to make goals by Michael Grabner and Jason Demers in the first two periods stand for the victory.
“We kind of hung on,” coach Rick Tocchet told the Coyotes’ official website. “You’ve got to give some guys some credit. I still think it’s a lesson to learn that you can’t back off. You can’t win in this league consistently if you’re backing off, and I thought the third, we’re kind of backing up in the neutral zone and I’m not a fan of that. So we’ve got to make sure that we meet pressure with pressure. But overall, hey, listen, that team’s built to win a Stanley Cup and we beat them 2-1. It was a little ugly.”
Grabner’s first-period goal was Arizona’s NHL-leading 10th short-handed tally, the most by any team in its first 18 games since the 1988-89 Edmonton Oilers bagged 11. The Coyotes have more short-handed goals than power play goals, entering this contest 9 for 57 with the man advantage compared to scoring 10 times in 58 penalty kills.
10 shorthanded goals. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Ziz1iRNutf
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) November 16, 2018
Kuemper is likely to be between the pipes for this game as he seeks his first win against the Bruins. He lost both his starts versus Boston while playing for Minnesota and has not faced the Bruins since 2016.
Demers, whose game-winner was also his first goal of the season, is questionable for this contest after suffering a lower-body injury. In case he cannot go, the team has recalled Robbie Russo from Tucson of the AHL.
Russo, who has eight assists in 13 games with the Roadrunners, has not played in the NHL since 2016-17 while with Detroit.
The Coyotes are:
- 5-1 in their last six home games.
- 5-1 in their last six home games vs. teams with a sub-.400 road winning percentage.
- The over is 4-1 in their last five home games.
- The over is 6-2 in their last eight games vs. Eastern Conference teams.
- The over is 4-1 in their last five games vs. above-.500 teams.
The Bruins are:
- 1-6 in their last seven in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- 2-5 in their last seven games playing on zero days’ rest.
- The over is 6-2-1 in their last nine games vs. the Coyotes.
- The over is 4-1 in their last five road games vs. the Coyotes.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Coyotes get a slight edge here with Kuemper despite Pastrnak running rampant in scoring goals. With the state of flux regarding the Bruins defense corps and all the new bodies, chemistry will be an issue, but more importantly, so will special teams play. And given Arizona’s proficiency scoring when down a man, this is a chance to for Tocchet’s team to end this lengthy losing streak to the Bruins.
Prediction: Pick: Coyotes -105
Full-Game Total Pick
While Kuemper is in form, the expectation is the Bruins will rely on their offense to try and get them through this game with all the new faces on defense. In addition to Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron has been highly effective finding his linemate and led the Bruins in scoring heading into Friday night’s game.
While Tocchet would prefer a grind-down game similar to the one that got Arizona a win versus Nashville, this has more of a 4-3 feel than a 2-1 feel, hence the pick of the over.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 5.5 goals
Full-Game Prop Bet
Arizona appears to be catching Boston at an ideal time with the Bruins’ defensive issues. The Coyotes also have been proficient at home, averaging 4.0 goals in their last six games after being blanked in the first two.
Prediction: Pick: Coyotes OVER 2.5 goals
Half-Time Side Pick
While it is not a great rate of return, the half-goal provides insurance in case the Bruins get on the board in the opening 20 minutes. Arizona has scored 10 first-period goals in its last five home games, netting three on three different occasions.
Prediction: Pick: Arizona +0.5 goals (-210)
Half-Time Total Bet
The hedge is Arizona will come out with jump against a Bruins team coming off an overtime loss. Boston had scored six first-period goals in its previous five games before being blanked by the Stars.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 1.5 goals