Where: Climate Pledge Arena
When: Thursday, February 24, 2022; 7:00pm PST
Wait, who are we playing? Landlubber’s Guide to the Boston Bruins
Local TV: ROOT Sports NW
Local Radio: 950 AM KJR
SiriusXM: Channel 91
Last Time Out
These two teams met just over three weeks ago out at TD Garden. The Bruins were heavy favorites coming in, however the Kraken made a game of it. Tied 0-0 at the start of the second, Seattle gave up two goals and headed into the third down a pair. Joonas Donskoi surprised the hell out of us all by scoring his first goal of the season, and Mason Appleton tied it up with 12:30 to go in the game.
It was not to be, however; Mark Giordano was called for tripping midway through the third, and David Pastrnak pounded home his second power play goal of the game to give Boston the victory. Chris Driedger made 23 saves on 26 shots; Boston’s Linus Ullmark had 25 stops. Final score 3-2 Bruins.
Stats, Streaks, & Droughts
Boston has an overall record of 29-17-4, good for 4th in the Atlantic Division. They are currently in the second wild card slot in the East, but they are nine points ahead of the nearest challenger; so barring a remarkable collapse it’s likely the Bruins will make the post-season. They play better on the road than they do at home, and are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games.
The B’s started off the new year with a stretch of 10 wins in 12 games, but have slowed of late, playing below .500 hockey since January 24th. They are an enigmatic team who shows up when they feel like it — being pressed into OT in the tilt against the Ottawa Senators; then clobbering the Western Conference powerhouse Colorado Avalanche 5-1 two days later. It’s anybody’s guess as to which Bruins show up tonight.
Seattle was going great guns there for a while, flirting with a winning record in late January and early February. But they have returned to form in the past 10 days, losing five straight and getting out-scored 23-10 in the process. The Kraken’s 2-1 loss to the Pacific Division leading Calgary Flames was a heroic effort, but they followed it up by losing to both the troubled and sinking Vancouver Canucks just 48 hours later, followed by the middling New York Islanders on Tuesday. Seattle’s overall record now stands at 16-33-4; they are 2-8-0 in their last 10 tilts; and their home record of 9-17-2 will strike fear in the hearts of exactly nobody.
Players To Watch
The firepower on the Bruins comes from the aforementioned David Pastrnak, who has 7 goals and 2 assists in just 8 games this month...
...and Brad Marchand, who is tied with Pasta for the team lead with 49 points...
But it doesn’t end there. Two other players have hit the 20 assist/30 point marks; first it’s Patrice Bergeron, seen here wiping his ass with Thomas Greiss...
...and Taylor Hall, who decided to re-write the rules of Euclidean geometry with this tally against the Islanders...
Injuries, Illnesses, Additions, & Scratches
Boston is almost completely healthy at the moment, with depth defenseman Jakub Zboril the only player on injured reserve. Nobody from the Bruins is in COVID-19 protocol, and they have nobody on LTIR. Bruins’ goaltending is a mixed bag at present, with Linus Ullmark having the most starts on the year, but youngster Jeremy Swayman seeing the bulk of the action lately.
On the Seattle side, all was looking well heading into tonight, but after practice today it was announced that Seattle leading scorer Jared McCann was being moved to the Injured Reserve list. With Jaden Schwartz also still unavailable, this is a crippling blow to the Kraken’s offense — which can ill afford to be depleted. No word on the nature of McCann’s injury or the timeline for his return; Kole Lind has been recalled from Charlotte.
No change in status for the remaining walking wounded: Brandon Tanev we won’t see again until training camp; Jaden Schwartz is skating but not handling pucks; both he and Karson Kuhlman are on IR and listed as week-to-week. Similar to Boston, the Kraken have nobody in COVID protocol or LTIR. As with the Bruins, there is little clarity as to who gets the call between the pipes this evening. We will confirm both starting goaltenders for you later today on our Twitter account.
Odds & Ends
- As mentioned above, Brad Marchand returns tonight from a 6-game suspension following a roughing/high sticking incident with Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Marchand isn’t exactly known for his calm and collected demeanor, but it turns out it doesn’t take much to get under his skin. If a little playground ribbing is enough to send Marchand spiraling, I hope Kraken pest Yanni Gourde is all up in his grill tonight. Let’s see if we can get him pissed off enough that the refs give him the gate.
- During the last meeting between these two clubs, Bruins’ defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was on the receiving end of a questionable hit from Kraken center Yanni Gourde. He left that game early at the insistence of concussion spotters, and sat out the next two weeks. He appears to be back to form however, logging 20 minutes in each of the two games since his return.
- Boston made a trade late Tuesday night, sending a 7th round pick to Arizona for Providence College defenseman Michael Callahan. He will likely be competing for a roster spot at Bruins’ camp this fall.
- Speaking of trades, with the trade deadline approaching and the Bruins hoping for better than just a wild card berth, Boston will be buyers. NHL pundits predict that they are looking for depth scoring, so don’t think for a second they won’t take a good hard look at somebody like Calle Järnkrok. Offensive output from their blue line corps has also been a point of concern for the B’s, so it’s not impossible that they ask what it would take to re-acquire Jeremy Lauzon from Seattle.
- If you’re nose-to-the-glass for any trade deadline information, you’ll want to know that Tuesday’s Kraken/Islanders game was scouted by no fewer than seven teams, including Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. The puzzler there is the Blackhawks, who have no prayer of making the playoffs, but who might be trying to clear cap space by moving RFA disappointments Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome.