The Pacific Division meets the Atlantic Division this evening as the Calgary Flames duke it out with the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Flames enter this game off a 3-2 road win over the Islanders, while the Bruins are off a 5-3 road win over the Devils. Goalie Probables: The Flames will be sending out Mike Smith or David Rittich and the Bruins will counter with Tuukka Rask.
Tkachuk Lifts Flames Over The Islanders
The Calgary Flames have had a nice little road trip so far as they have won three of the four games on it after taking out the Islanders on the road by a score of 3-2 on Sunday. They have now won four of their last five games overall to move into third place in the Atlantic Division, but their lead over 4th place Los Angeles is just one point, so they still have plenty of work to do to make it to the postseason. The Flames tailed the Islander by a score of 2-1 as the teams headed to the 3rd period, but they then got two goals from Matthew Tkachuk, including the game-winner with just 1:05 left in regulation. He now has 20 goals on the year. Also scoring in the win was Mark Jankowski, which was his 9th of the year. The Flames have now gone 16-11 on the road and they have averaged 2.89 gpg and have allowed 2.41 gpg in those games.
Grabbing the win against the Islanders was Mike Smith, who stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced the game to move to 23-22 with a 2.53 GAA and a .921 save percentage on the year, including 11-7 with a 1.97 GAA and a .944 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 90-158 with a 2.85 GAA on the road and 37-55 with a 2.94 GAA against the Atlantic Division, while against the Bruins he has gone 3-2 with a 3.32 GAA. Smith left the last game with just two seconds left and is questionable for this one and if he can’t go then we will see David Rittich get the start and he has gone 5-3 with a 2.20 GAA and a .927 save percentage on the year, including 5-2 with a 1.96 GAA and a .938 save percentage on the road. He had one relief appearance last year, so this is really his first year in the league and has never faced the Bruins.
The Flames come into this game ranked 20th in the league in scoring at 2.80 gpg, while also ranking 9th in shots taken (32.9 spg) and 23rd in power play conversions, converting on 17.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very solid as they enter this game ranked 11th in goals allowed, giving up 2.75 gpg, while also ranking 18th in shots allowed (32.0 spg) and 20th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.4% of their chances.
Bruins Top Devils To Rebound From Loss To The Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres are the 2nd worst team in the league, but they were able to stun the Bruins in Boston on Saturday by a score of 4-2. The Bruins were favorites of -325 in that game, so it was a huge shocker. On Sunday, they were able to bounce back with a nice 5-3 road win over the New Jersey Devils. The Bruins have now gone 28-9 over their last 37 games and they have not lost two games in a row since 12/14 & 12/16. They are now just three points out of first in the Atlantic Division and will now take aim at toppling a pretty good Calgary team. Scoring for the Bruins against the Devils was Torey Krug, who scored twice and now has 10 on the year, Tim Schaller, which was his 9th, Adam McQuaid, which was his 1st of the year and Patrice Bergeron, while was his 25th. The Bruins have gone 18-11 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.40 gpg and have allowed 2.00 gpg in those games.
Grabbing the win against the Devils was Anton Khudobin, who stopped 35 of the 38 shots that he faced to improve to 12-7 with a 2.32 GAA and a .925 save percentage on the year. Tuukka Rask is slated to get the start in this one and he has gone 22-13 with a 2.11 GAA and a .924 save percentage on the year overall, including 14-7 with a 1.94 GAA and a .930 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 126-93 with a 2.09 GAA in his home games and 28-28 with a 2.50 GAA against the Pacific Division, while against the Flames he has gone 4-3 with a 1.61 GAA.
Boston has been solid on offense so far as they come in ranked 4th in the league in scoring at 3.28 gpg, while also ranking 13th in shots taken (31.9 spg) and 9th in power play conversions, converting on 21.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very good as they enter this contest ranked 1st in goals allowed, giving up 2.39 gpg, while also ranking 2nd in shots allowed (29.3 spg) and 3rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 16.2% of their chances.
- The Under is 14-5 in their last 19 vs. a team with a winning record
- The Under is 19-7-3 in their last 29 in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 days situation
- The Under is 9-1 in their last 10 in the third game of a 3-in-4 days situation
- The Under is 18-6-2 in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
Tuukka Rask had a bad game against the lowly Sabres his last time out and I look for him to get back on track in this one against a less than stellar Calgary offense. Rask has a solid 1.94 GAA here at home for the year and he has a solid 1.61 GAA in his career against the Flames, so I expect him to keep this offense in check in this one. The Bruins have been a solid offensive team at home, but the flames have allowed just 2.41 gpg on the road and both Rittich and Smith have been very solid away from home this year so far. This really has the makings of a defensive battle and the clincher is the fact that the Under is 11-1 in Boston’s last 12 games playing on one days rest.