Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins

NHL: SEP 23 Preseason – Flyers at Bruins
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 23: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) peeks around Philadelphia Flyers center Andy Andreoff (10) during a preseason game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers on September 23, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Keep on climbing, that’s the mantra as of late for the Philadelphia Flyers. It hasn’t been spoken, but you can see it in the NHL standings. A team that used to struggle in overtime performances, especially in the shootout, all of the sudden has garnished points in those clutch situations. Tonight, a rivalry matchup pits the Flyers against the Boston Bruins in Boston. These two teams have a history with one another and Carter Hart will attempt to be on the right side of that against Jaroslav Halak.

Gaining points in the last five games, the Philadelphia Flyers are running on a three-game win streak. Four of those five games have been decided in the overtime period or shootout. On the other hand, the Boston Bruins are on a two-game skid in regulation for the first time this season. The Bruins are looking to turn their fortunes around against a Philadelphia team that has had their number in the last couple of meetings. Those two wins most recently against Boston came in overtime for the Flyers.

Over the last ten games, the Boston Bruins have a slight advantage over the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-4. In the last game, the Flyers defeated the Bruins in Boston in the overtime period. The clash between Carter Hart and Jaroslav Halak is going to be where I would place my magnifying glass. The last few opponents Philadelphia has played, the opposition has also had stellar goaltending. If Hart can keep the pace and the Flyers can play consistent defense, they’ll give themselves a chance.

Boston Bruins – Skaters

David Pastrnak is a 23 year old right-winger with 30 points on the year. The dangerous part about Pastrnak is that he splits his assists and goals at 15 each, so you don’t know specifically how he will contribute. He is a dangerous scorer on the powerplay and makes plays happen during even-strength hockey. Scoring on 26.3% of his shots, Pastrnak is the most accurate scorer on the Boston Bruins. The only part of the game where Pastrnak seems to struggle is at the faceoff circle.

For years now, Zdeno Chara has been a force on the Boston Bruins defense. The 42-year-old is still playing at a high rate. With a +/- of 13, the Bruins thrive when Chara is on the ice. He’s contributed five points, all coming during even-strength hockey. Chara has blocked 23 shots and dished 14 hits this season, so he’s one of the more physical players on Boston’s defense. Don’t leave Chara alone at the blue line, he has one of the hardest slap shots in the NHL.

Boston Bruins – Goaltending

As mentioned earlier, the tentative starter for the Boston Bruins is Jaroslav Halak. This season, Halak has six starts and four wins. One of the losses was not in regulation play, so the Bruins still received a point. Halak has four quality starts this season, yielding a 2.82 goal against average. In net, he’s maintained a 91.7% save percentage.

Faceoff Possession

The advantage in the faceoff circle goes to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Boston Bruins are just above 50% in team faceoffs at 50.6% while the Flyers are at 55.2%. There are four players on the Bruins over 50% when taking faceoffs: Patrice Bergeron, Par Lindholm, Peter Cehlarik, and Brad Marchand. There are seven players on Philadelphia over the 50% faceoff win percentage: James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Michael Raffl, and Andy Andreoff.

Prediction

Headed into this game, the Philadelphia Flyers are riding high in success as they climb the standings in the Metropolitan Division. The Boston Bruins are the empire of the Atlantic Division this season, but they’ve tasted a losing streak of sorts. This is going to be a very tough battle for the Flyers, tougher than four games going past regulation. Fatigue could set in and the Bruins are looking for redemption. I think that the Boston Bruins may be victorious tonight at home against the Flyers, but this has the makings of a tight game.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The money line favors the Boston Bruins at -210 with the over-under at 6. The Bruins are a heavy favorite this game. If you like what read here, follow Philly Sports Network on Twitter at PhiladelphiaSN. Discuss Flyers hockey with me on Twitter at EricReesePSN.

More from our Sister Sites