Game Preview: Dallas Stars Wrap Up Road Trip in Snowy Boston
74 degrees and sunny in Dallas today, Boston.
In the eight games stretching back to their win in Dallas against the Stars the Boston Bruins have surrendered an average of 34.9 shots and an average of 1.625 goals.
Over the course of a season one of those numbers would be on par for worst in the league along side Buffalo. The other would be a league best.
Counter-intuitive results are the stuff of small sample sizes, of course, but the many statistical unlikelihoods of the Dallas Stars' season are now stretching into nearly their 60th game. The Bruins were a part of that as Lindy Ruff's group put 37 shots on Tuukka Rask and only got one past him.
The Stars are now 7-18 when out-shooting the opposition this year. As Mike Heika pointed out yesterday, they're 5-0 in the last five games in which they've been out-shot.
Manipulation of presentation to make a point, sure, but at least some of this comes down to the fact that the Bruins, as a team, have the league's third best save percentage (all situations) and the Stars have the second worst.
Kari Lehtonen's response in a back-to-back at Madison Square Garden was a glimpse of what they desperately need to get back into things in the West. He has to find it now. Consistently. The Kings and Wild last night? Both winners.
Sunday's game was unusual on all fronts. Ales Hemsky scoring a game winner? First time that's happened this season. An overtime win? First time that's happened this season? Getting out-shot 20-2 in the third period? They've dominated the shot column lately. That was quite unusual.
The Stars did not practice Monday, spending the day in snowy Boston, where the trains may not run prior to the game this evening- But it is still expected to go on per the Bruins' Twitter account.
For fans asking about Tuesday's game against the Stars, the game is on as scheduled. If anything changes we will be sure to alert fans ASAP.— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 9, 2015
It would be a difficult game to make up. The only other north-eastern swing for the Stars is a quick one-off to Philadelphia on March 10th- Playing on either side of that would cause a triple-header for one or both teams.
So the game must go on, though the Bruins themselves missed practice Monday due to the weather.
As they did when these teams last met, Boston clings to the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference. This is their final game of a three-game home stand before embarking on a trip out West.
They've dropped two of their last three (Montreal, New York Rangers), but got a game-winner from Loui Eriksson Saturday against the New York Islanders in a game that featured 76 shots and just three goals.
It's the same drill as before. They rely on their netminder. They don't score much. In fact they have just 14 non-power play, non-empty net goals in their last eight games (1.75 per).
They don't score on the power play much, but that's because they can't seem to get on it. In their last six games they've only earned nine opportunities- None against Montreal at home on Sunday. Montreal swept the season series from their bitter rivals with the win, and you can bet the Bruins will try to take it out on the Stars.
They have no injuries of note. This is both team's third game in four days.
6:08pm CST faceoff on Fox Sports Southwest.
From Stars PR:
Jason Spezza notched the first goal of Sunday afternoon's 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers and assisted on the Stars' two other goals in the contest. Spezza recorded three points (1-2=3) on Sunday for his third multi-assist outing of the season and his first since Oct. 18 vs. Philadelphia (1-3=4). The 31-year-old center was acquired via trade in the offseason from Ottawa and now has 12 points (3-9=12) in his last 11 games and since the start of 2015, has registered 15 points (4-11=15) in those 17 games.