NHL on NBCSN Doubleheader: Bruins vs. Red Wings; Sharks vs. Kings
We’ll have a full night of hockey on NBCSN, and it starts at 8:00 p.m. ET when the Detroit Red Wings host the Boston Bruins. You can watch the game online by clicking here.
The Boston Bruins currently sit in the second place in the Atlantic Division, but that doesn’t mean their satisfied with their game right now. Actually, it might be the exact opposite of satisfied.
On Monday, the Bruins were shelled 4-0 at the Garden by the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders.
The performance was so bad that head coach Claude Julien decided to cancel Tuesday’s practice so his players could rest and watch film.
“I still believe in this group; never have not believed in this group,” said Julien, per the Boston Herald. “Having said that, I understand there’s work to be done, and there’s challenges ahead. I said that last week . . . we’re trying to build on certain things here, but it’s a challenge. And we knew that from the get-go. We accept it. We accept the challenges in front of us. It doesn’t mean we accept the things that happened (Monday), but we still have to accept that there’s work to be done and we keep doing our work.”
If the playoffs started today, sure, the Bruins would have home ice advantage, but the playoffs don’t start today and Toronto and Ottawa are both just one point behind Boston and they each have five (yes, five) games in hand. The Flyers and Hurricanes, who are currently outside of the playoff picture, are just one and two points behind the Bruins.
Boston can’t afford to take anyone for granted.
The Red Wings are coming off a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, but they haven’t been very good this season.
If they don’t turn this thing around quickly, they’ll see their long playoff streak snapped at 25 seasons. Detroit is currently six points back of both the final Wild Card spot in the East and third place in the Atlantic Division.
Now would be as good a time as ever to go on a long winning streak, which they haven’t done since they won six straight in October.
“You don’t want to be on that team that doesn’t make (the playoffs),” said Henrik Zetterberg, per MLive.com. “We want to have a chance and we still have a chance, but we have to play the right away. We have good enough players that we can still make it, but we can’t get too carried away. It’s two wins and we haven’t had two wins (in a row) since October and that says a lot.”
After the Bruins-Red Wings game, NBCSN’s hockey coverage will continue in Los Angeles, where the Sharks will take on the Kings. You can watch that game online by clicking here.
After getting steamrolled, 4-0, by the Blues on Saturday night, the Sharks responded with a big 5-2 win over the Jets on Monday.
Finding the back of the net with regularity has been an issue for the Sharks, which is a little surprising when you see the offensive firepower they have on their roster. But if the San Jose makes a move between now and the deadline, it’ll likely be to add a forward that can score goals (they probably aren’t the only ones looking for that).
Only three teams have allowed less than the 102 goals San Jose has given up this season, but their 117 goals for currently ranks 20th in the NHL.
One way they’ll likely boost their offensive output is by getting Tomas Hertl back from injury. Hertl’s been out since Nov. 19 because of a knee injury. The 23-year-old scored 21 goals for the Sharks last season.
Like the Sharks, the Kings also do a good job of keeping the puck out of the net, but they’re struggling to create offense.
Los Angeles has given up just eight more goals than San Jose in 2016-17, but the issue is that they’ve also scored five less goals than the Sharks, which puts them in 24th place in that category.
The poster boy for offensive struggles is Kings captain Anze Kopitar, who’s managed to find the back of the net just four times in 38 games this season.
Kopitar missed Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Lightning because of an illness, but he told LAKingsInsider.com that he was starting to feel good about his offensive game before getting sick.
“I expect the very highest of myself, so yeah it’s not the best feeling when you look at numbers, just because of my personal expectation,” said Kopitar. Whatever the outside world thinks it’s not weighing on me as much as I do on my own, but like I said, I think things have been going in the right direction now and hopefully I can sustain it.”
On a positive note, the Kings have been terrific at home this season. They currently own a 14-7-1 record at Staples Center, which bodes well for their chances in tonight’s game.