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Week Six: Eastern Conference Showdown

The Week That Was

Last week, our weekly preview was all about the goaltending the Bruins would be facing and tempering expectations. This Bruins team is not a world beater when it comes to putting the puck in the net.

Quite the contrary, friendo.

The Bruins currently rank 28th in goals for this season. That isn’t goals for per game, which averages the total number of goals scored over the amount of games played though. We’re talking straight, raw, goals for.

Yikes.

Still, Boston came away with three out of a possible six points against two elite-tier goaltenders and Maxime Lagace. And the Bruins had to hang on to beat Lagace because their goal scoring is putrid.

The thing is they’re not even getting shots on net. The Bruins are 27th in shots for per game this season. If you look at the league leader, Montreal Canadiens, they’re a full 10 shots on goal behind them.

The offense is not clicking at the moment and that’s okay when you look at who has been out of the lineup. If a team loses their second center and second winger/third center, you’re going to have an offensive dip.

Unfortunately, there’s not many people picking up the pieces. The Bruins have constantly looked towards their three horses to provide the offensive edge and, luckily for the Bruins, they’ve accepted the challenge.

If it wasn’t for David Pastrnak, Boston gets blown out by Washington.

The Week Ahead

The Bruins week ahead is basically a year in high school. The first term (Minnesota) seems like it should be good. You’re reviewing things from last year and you’re just getting to learn who your new classmates and teachers are.

Your second term (Rangers) gets a little harder because they’re pushing a little more work on you. Maybe your teachers aren’t as cool as they were in October and you’re feeling some pressure.

Your third and fourth terms are like a nightmare (Toronto) because you have term papers, finals, midterms – all the fun stuff.

Well, welcome to school bitches!

Minnesota seems like a teacher Boston should be able to hang with. Offensively, Minnesota is very much like Boston. They don’t score a ton of goals. Minnesota is currently 22nd in goals for. They’re 28th in shots for per game. It’s like looking in a mirror when you watch the Wild play.

The problem comes on the other end of the ice. Where Boston has a goaltender who looks like he’s struggling to keep his head above water because his defense looks disorganized and lost, the Wild are one of the best defensive teams in the NHL.

It’s not even fair of me to say that the Bruins are struggling both defensively and in net because they’re 9th in the NHL in goals against at 36. 9th! We’re not talking about Arizona at 62 or Pittsburgh (lol) at 58. We’re talking about the Bruins at 36 but because their offense is so inept, it makes their defensive struggles look bad.

In A New York Minute

The Rangers seem to be the complete opposite. The Rangers are scoring in spades, but have allowed 51 goals so far this season. We know what’s going to happen, right?

Lundqvist is going to look like a goddamn superman because the Bruins offense isn’t good.

The Rangers, offensively, are a step up from a team like Minnesota. New York doesn’t seem to have much trouble putting the puck in the net as they’re the 7th highest goals for team in the NHL. It’s a little surprising given that the Rangers are in the bottom third of the league in corsi for% (which means some dickhead is going to tell me it doesn’t matter).

Auston 3:16

To finish up the week, the Bruins get a wonderful home-and-home matchup with a team that can shoot the lights out. The Maple Leafs are second in the NHL in goals for. Auston Matthews has been a monster so far in this young season with 10 goals and 8 assists in 15 games.

The kryptonite to Toronto’s Superman is that their defense is really bad. The Leafs have allowed 55 goals against them this season. Their penalty kill isn’t anything to be worried about at 80.8% and their goaltending hasn’t been good this season.

If you’re on Twitter, watch some Leafs fans live-tweet games. Some have already called for Babcock’s job and that makes me smile.

They don’t deserve anything, ever.

By Greg


For Your Information

By Marshall


The Fantasy Implication

The Bruins are running through the gauntlet with 4 games this week and 6 games in 10 days.  

Why did I make Rask the woman? I don’t know, I needed to put someone there. Plus, if you saw the original image, you’d know that face is perfect.

Chara is the Wizard because he’s old.

If you need to ask why Marchand is the elf then you haven’t been paying attention.

Anyways, let’s take a look at this week’s teams.

Minnesota Wild:

Goalies: So far, Dubnyk is a far cry from what he was last year, though he did manage to hold Pittsburg to just one goal a few games back. While the matchup against Boston may be on the favorable side (given injuries and the usual offensive woes), I say sit Dubstep if you have a better option. Don’t even bother with Stalock unless you’re looking for a DFS value goalie.

Skaters: I know that fantasy relevance doesn’t necessarily translate to NHL relevance, but there is a reason that the Wild are struggling to crawl out of the bottom of the Central division: they’re just not that good. Chris Stewart started out hot, but has cooled way down. Their two biggest standouts to me are both defensemen: Suter and Spurgeon.  The issue with them though is that they won’t help much in peripheral stats (unless your league counts blocks).  

New York Rangers:

Goalies: 

Skaters: Hopefully you were able to scoop up Zibanejad after he (probably) went undrafted.  I’m not wholly sure that his production will keep up but I intend to ride that train all the way to the end. Shattenkirk is always a solid D-man and Kreider can help in points and hits. Don’t get too high on Zuccarello, his point totals look good but they’re inflated thanks to some multi-point nights.

Hey, remember Rick Nash? Remember how good he used to be? Pepperidge Farms remembers but apparently he doesn’t.

Toronto Maple Leafs:

Goalies: Let’s be real, if you drafted Frederik Andersen, it was for the wins.  He is scraping the bottom of the barrel in GAA and Save% (for starting goaltenders), but near the top in wins and saves. Boston and Toronto have back to back games so there is a good chance we see McElhinney once in that time.  He should be fairly irrelevant unless you need some end of week saves to catch up in your matchup.

Skaters: Austin Matthews needs no introduction but aside from him you can’t really go wrong with Kadri, Nylander, Van Riemsdyk, and Reilly right now.

But you know what? I want to talk about Mitch Marner, can we talk about Mitch Marner?  Look, I’m sure Babcock had his reasons for putting him on the 4th line, I know his +/- is garbage, but the kid had 61 points last year and tied Matthews in PPP with 21.

As it stands now, he has 6 points in 14 games, 3 PPPs, and a +/- of -10.  That +/- definitely hurts if your league counts it but it could at least be mitigated by points if he got more playing time. He does have some time on the first power-play unit, so that’s something at least.  

Boston Bruins:

Goalies: This is a tough week for Rask owners. He should be a solid start against the Wild, the Rangers are always a tough game, and Toronto is a damn scoring dynamo. Expect Rask to only get one of the starts against Toronto and consider sitting him for it.

Skaters: It’s nice seeing Krug get on the scoring sheet a bit more recently, he has the talent so hopefully that keeps up. Some of the younger kids like DeBrusk and Czarnik have shown us some flashes, but none are really fantasy relevant yet, so I’ll just reuse this from last week:

By Robb