Today’s NHL Predictions features the Atlantic Division . The Boston Bruins (9-0-1) just keep on rolling. It does not matter who they play, they manage to find a way to secure the two points. For the fourth game in a row they’ll play an Atlantic Division team. Furthermore, they’ll play the same team they played a week ago.
A successful homestand saw the Bruins defeat three teams within the division and look to continue their winning ways on the road. Boston head to Mo-Town as they take on the Detroit Red Wings. Boston defeated Detroit 4-1 on home ice in a dominant bounce back fashion. They took their loss against the Anaheim Ducks personal and smothered the Red Wings potent attack.
Things will look different this time around, as the Bruins are without three key defensemen. Detroit will look to pounce on the Bruins and get back to their winnings ways. Here are the keys to victory for the Bruins in this matchup.
NHL Predictions: Boston vs Detroit
Three Keys to Victory For Boston
Another Strong Defensive Game
The first key to victory on this set of NHL Predictions concerns the back end. It is never easy being without your top pair. Also, the team is without Derek Forbort, who has been a mainstay on the Bruins’ lethal penalty kill. Three young guns from the Providence Bruins have been called up and they all played well in their last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’ll need that same type of effort again and on the road.
Mason Lohrei was the teams’ best player on Thursday night. His offensive impacts were high, as he finished with 1.63 expected goals and got the assist on the Pavel Zacha goal. Furthermore, his defensive ability was evident. He was accounted for 0.34 expected goals against and with him on the ice, high danger shots were 6-0 in the Bruins favour. Everyone followed the rookies suit and helped smother a lethal Toronto offence. Brandon Carlo and Hampus Lindholm will now be tasked to pave the way for this defence, as the third pair is an all rookie pair.
Detroit has a smothering offence and depth has been a virtue for them in the 2023-24 season. In addition, all there newcomers from this offseason have made impacts immediately. Also, Captain Dylan Larkin and newly acquired Alex DeBrincat have caught fire together and have instant chemistry. DeBrincat leads the team in goals (9) and Larkin leads in points (15). Furthermore, Detroit is averaging 3.64 goals per game. It’ll be a different look defence for the Bruins and they’ll need to play the same way they did against Detroit last time they met.
A Strong Penalty Kill Without Forbort
There are keys to the success for the Bruins this season. It has been strong goaltending, a smothering defence, and an elite penalty kill. The Boston penalty kill has allowed one goal and has a success rate of 97.4%. It’s a testament to how good they defend, as they average an eye opening 1.64 goals against per game. But the penalty kill will need to continue to get it done without one of their best.
Say what you will about the contract, but Forbort has been a mainstay on the Bruins third pair. In addition, he has been the teams best penalty killer. Him and Brandon Carlo have formed a dynamite pair and have been a towering force against opposing power plays.
Forbort has played the second most minutes on the penalty kill and has 4.39 expected goals against. Him and Carlo have done an excellent job of limiting the position to getting anything done in the high danger area. Without Forbort, Carlo and whoever is tasked to be paired with him will have their work cut out for them.
As good as the Bruins penalty kill has been, the Detroit power play is not far behind. Detroit owns the sixth best power play in the league and has a 28.6% success rate. Larkin and DeBrincat are leading the way with goals, but their defenceman are unafraid to jump into the attack. New addition Shayne Gostisbehere has been a power play merchant his entire career and has helped jolt the power play. Moritz Seider is not far behind and has five assists with the man advantage.
Boston has done a great job suppressing the opposition, but Detroit has found ways to get pucks through and cash in.
Let the Tandem Cook
The hockey world should know this by now but the Boston Bruins tandem is the best in the league. Both goaltenders have a goals against average under 2.00, and the both have a save percentage well over .900. Furthermore, Jeremy Swayman is third in the league in goals saved above expected (7.7), and Linus Ullmark is 14th with 3.6.
Jim Montgomery has gone with the alternate method and rotates the goalies with each start. This is a recipe that worked last season and is working this season. A smothering Detroit offence meets a smothering Boston defence but also elite goaltending. They had no luck last game and maybe home cooking can turn the tide.
This game for NHL Predictions is a doozy and can go either way. This will be a tough contest. Both teams have a lot to play for and currently sit first and second within the division. Detroit is coming off a loss and looks to get a win at home. Boston is down key players but has yet to lose in regulation. This game could come down to goaltending and the Bruins have that edge.
Prediction: Bruins win 4-2
Main Photo: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports