The Boston Bruins walked all over the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame stadium, en route to a 4-2 win in the Winter Classic on New Years Day. They spoiled the hosts party, but it was a good win for the Bruins who went ahead in the 3rd period after a tied deadlock through the first two periods. Sean Kuraly scored the game winner and Brad Marchand put the game on ice with an empty netter.
The Bruins have been a difficult team to put a finger on. They’re certainly not a major contender in the Eastern Conference, but would it surprise anyone if they pulled off an upset in the first-round? Probably not. I know the Maple Leafs don’t want to see the Bruins in the playoffs after they’ve struggled against them in the past.
Calgary are coming off a come from behind win over the Red Wings last night. It looked like for a period that they were going to get upset, but ultimately took over control of the game for a 5-3 victory. That’s the second game in a row that the Red Wings looked like they were in control and then allowed it to get away.
So, a lot of it was because of the Wings, but 2 points count all the same, and it was enough to put the Flames atop the Pacific. With the win, the Flames grabbed sole possession of the division with the Knights off last night.
The Sharks are a team to look out for as well. I know they are not getting much attention, but they are a complete team who has been rising up the standings quickly. The Sharks are just 3 points out of 1st in the Pacific after defeating the Avs on the road last night.
Boston is the second stop of a five-game road trip for the Flames. They’re in Philadelphia in Saturday after their meeting with the Bruins tonight. Meanwhile, the Bruins can relax at home with four straight games at home, along with nine of their next eleven. Head below for our free Flames vs Bruins pick from TD Garden in Boston.
Calgary Flames vs. Boston Bruins Pick
It was the usual suspects producing for the Flames last night, with Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, and Johnny Gaudreau all getting on the score sheet. T.J. Brodie and Michael Frolik also chipped in with a goal. The Flames opted for Mike Smith in net instead of David Rittich and the decision paid off. Well, the Flames didn’t have much of a choice, because he has been sidelined with a lower-body injury.
Jon Gillies was called up from the AHL to fill in for Rittich on Wednesday. The good news for the Flames is that he is just day-today, and it shouldn’t be an injury that lingers. The bad news is that they’re on a back-to-back and Smith might have to play in both games. Rittich might be able to play on Thursday, but it might be smart to give him a couple days off. If he’s not near 100%, they shouldn’t be fooling around with an injury that could sideline him for much longer.
If Rittich is unable to start, it’s going to be a disservice to the Flames in Boston. Despite picking up the win last night, Smith has been less than stellar with a 0.88 save percentage compared to 0.92 for Rittich. For an older guy like Smith, playing a back-to-back. If they want to go with Gillies, it would get awfully interesting.
He owns a 0.864 save percentage and 4.07 in 22 starts for Stockton of the NHL this season. Gillies is most likely just an emergency option. The Bruins have been solid at home with a record of 13-5-0. Their offence snaps to life at TD Garden, with an average of 3.56 goals scored per game, as opposed to 2.95 goals for the Flames on the road. Further, the Bruins have gone 6-2 over the Flames in their previous eight meetings in Boston. Give me the Bruins to ride the momentum from their win at Notre Dame into tonight.