A poor defensive performance by the Bruins on Monday night ruined a 5-goal effort in Philadelphia against the Flyers. Following what looked like was going to be a rout late in the first, the Flyers responded quickly after getting behind by a couple of goals. It was a required response on the power-play, as the Flyers cut the lead in half going into the first intermission. They were still down by a goal going into the third, after a hectic third period.
The Flyers tied the game, though, and earned the bonus point in a shootout. Helping them get there was Brad Marchand, who had one of the most embarrassing shootout efforts you’ll ever see. Down to one last attempt, Marchand outskated the puck at centre ice and didn’t get past the red line with it on his stick. He moved it slightly, which counts as a shot in a shootout. What a weird way to end an entertaining contest.
Boston will be back out on the ice tonight, this time in Columbus at Nationwide Arena. Tukka Rask was given the night off against the Flyers, so he will be in action versus the Blue Jackets in this one. Jaroslav Halak had a shaky evening, having allowed 5 goals on 39 shots. That’s not all his fault, as the usually helpful defence was nowhere to be found. Halak has not looked good in his previous three appearances, with 12 goals allowed on 85 shots.
Fortunately for the Bruins, Halak the backup will be sitting on the bench tonight, while Rask gets called on in Columbus. The game last night just goes to show that the Bruins could be in some trouble if Rask gets a serious injury. There was some good news for the Bruins last night. They still got a point out of a lackluster effort on the road, and Matt Grzelcyk was able to suit up for the Bruins.
Grzelcyk clearly didn’t help much with the defence getting punched out against a lazy Bruins’ defence. With the rust off, Grzelcyk and the defence as a whole should look better against a vanilla Blue Jackets’ offence. Columbus has been exceeding projections, especially with the injuries they’ve had to deal with, but their offence has taken a backseat to stellar goaltending recently. Elvis Merzlikins has been shining in the absence of Joonas Korpisalo. He’s helped spark a run that has seen the Blue Jackets win five of their last seven games. Head below for our free Bruins vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Boston Bruins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Betting Odds:
Bruins vs. Blue Jackets Prediction:
The Bruins don’t usually let go of leads. A 2-goal deficit is just about lights out time when playing against the Bruins. However, give credit for the Flyers last night in Philadelphia. Coming back versus a team built like the Bruins is not easy to do, but they pulled it off and picked up 2 important points. It’s likely not going to be as easy for the Blue Jackets tonight against Rask, though. If the Bruins get ahead, it won’t be so simple for the Jackets.
Yes, John Tortorella has his team winning games of late, but a lot of that has been done with solid defence and timely goaltending from Merzlikins. If they’re forced to stage a comeback here, it’s going to be difficult, especially after what a putrid defensive showing Boston had a night ago. We probably should expect to see the Bruins play a fundamentally sound game than what happened versus the Flyers.
Rask has been sharp this season with a 2.27 GAA and 0.925 save percentage. That’s equal with his career GAA of 2.28 and 0.921 save percentage. That’s over the course of 522 games, which is an ample sample size to say that Rask is meeting expectations dead on in 2019-20. He’s been consistent recently, with 2 goals against or fewer in regulation in four straight games. Rask ended up taking a 2-1 loss against the Blue Jackets on January 2nd, though the second goal came in overtime. It was yet another example of the effective defensive scheme that Tortorella has executed to win games recently.
The offence will have to come around soon, though, and maybe that happens when healthier bodies return to the lineup. The Blue Jackets are 27th in the league with 2.63 goals scored per game. If Merzlikins begins to show any signs of regression, then the Jackets are going to be in trouble. Despite beating the Bruins in their last meeting, they struggled in the previous three games, with three losses and only 1.3 goals scored per game. After an out of character performance by the Bruins last night, expect them to return to the ice with a better mindset on Tuesday. Given It’s probably for the better that this is a back-to-back. I will go with the Bruins to get a revenge win after falling to the Blue Jackets two weeks ago.