The Bruins wrap up their bye week and hit the road for four games to take on the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars. It will be a tough test for a refreshed team that is fully healthy.
Now to take a look at each team Boston will face during this West Coast road trip.
SAN JOSE SHARKS (FEBRUARY 19TH)
- Boston and San Jose played earlier this year, which Boston won 6-3. It was the first game after firing Claude Julien
- San Jose has the 6th best record in the NHL at 35-18-6
- The San Jose Sharks have been playing well this season. They sit in first place in the Pacific Division and second place in the Western Conference with 76 points, eight points behind the leading Minnesota Wild.
- Defenseman Brent Burns leads scoring for the Sharks, with 63 points, 27 goals and 36 assists, putting him third in the league. He’s been their superstar all year, playing great offensively and defensively. He will be a key piece the Bruins will need keep on their radar.
- Martin Jones remains steady in goal with a good .913 save percentage. He sits in fifth in the league with 28 wins, one more than Tuukka Rask. Boston will look to get shots on Jones early and often.
- They are a deep and well coached team, but not a high-scoring team though good defensively. This should be a tough test for Boston’s first game off the bye week
ANAHEIM DUCKS (FEBRUARY 22ND)
- This will be the first match-up of the year for Boston and Anaheim.
- Anaheim has the 12th best record in the NHL at 30-19-10.
- The Ducks have’t had the season they planned, but currently sit in third place in the Pacific Division and fifth in the Western Conference with 70 points.
- Center Ryan Kesler leads the Ducks in points with 44, 19 goals and 25 assists. He’s a good face-off winning center. Bergeron and Krecji may have problems with him.
- John Gibson has been the mainstay in-goal for the Ducks with 22 wins which is 12th in the NHL and a very good .920 save percentage.
- Anaheim isn’t a solid as San Jose defensively, but this will be another tough test for this Bruins team. Getting good looks on John Gibson and winning face-offs will be key.
- They aren’t an offensive or defensive juggernaut, which should allow Boston to play well against them.
LOS ANGELES KINGS (FEBRUARY 23RD)
- This will also be the first match-up this year between Boston and Los Angeles
- The Kings are sitting just outside of a wild card spot in the West with a 28-25-4 record.
- Los Angeles sits in sixth place in the Pacific Division with 60 points, two points behind Calgary. They are two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference with two games in hand on Calgary.
- Center Jeff Carter leads the Kings in points with 53, 29 goals and 24 assists. His 29 goals put him second in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby.
- Peter Budaj has been great in goal this year for the Kings with 26 wins and a .915 save percentage. He was forced into action after LA lost their star goalie Jonathan Quick in the first game of the year.
- Los Angeles has under performed this year. They haven’t been the same team without Quick in net. Budaj has played well but he isn’t the same type of goalie as Quick.
- Boston should play well against LA even though it is back-to-back.
DALLAS STARS (FEBRUARY 26TH)
- Dallas and Boston have not played yet this year.
- Dallas sits three spots out of last place in the West with a 23-27-10 record.
- The Stars are six points out of the Wild Card with 56 points, and sit in sixth place in the Central Division.
- Ex-Bruin center Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in points with 59, 21 goals ad 38 assists. He sits in a tie for fifth in the NHL in points. Boston will have their hands full with him.
- Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi have struggled between the pipes this year for Dallas. Lehtonen has 13 wins and a .902 save percentage, Niemi has 10 wins and a .899 save percentage. Dallas has had issues with goal tending this entire year so they play these two around the same amount.
- Dallas struggled this year defensively and in-goal. They haven’t been able to perform like they did last year. They have the offensive fire power to put up goals with great depth throughout their lines.
- Boston will have to protect Rask from the Stars offense. Boston should be able to put up goals on the Stars. They are the overall better team and should not have too difficult a time against them.
HOW BOSTON SHOULD FARE THIS ROAD TRIP
Heading into a long road trip is always tough for teams. Boston will be playing mostly on the West Coast, something they aren’t used to. It is going to be a long, hard-fought trip for the Bruins coming off the bye week.
I am expecting the Bruins to go 3-1 or 2-2 after this four-game road trip. Facing two tough teams like the Sharks and Ducks will a battle. Playing a back to back with the Ducks and Kings will be difficult, but Boston should escape with at least one win. Dallas has been a mess this year, so Boston should be able to beat them due to the lack of defense and goal tending.
Boston starts their road trip tonight against San Jose at 8:30 on the NBC Sports Network. Tune in to watch some hockey.