The first matchup occured way back on Nov. 12 in Arizona where the Bruins were able to capture a 2-1 victory. Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak registered the goals for the Bruins while Radim Vrbata posted the lone Coyotes tally in the close contest.
Before the start of the game, the TD Garden will be honoring First Responders and their families with a ceremonial puck drop, the singing of the national anthem and allowing members on the Bruins’ bench during warmups. It should be a very nice ceremony for the First Responders of Massachusetts before the players hit the ice for battle.
Arizona Coyotes at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-7:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, FS-A PLUS, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: Bruins Lead 1-0
Arizona Coyotes-22-32-7- 51 Points
Road Record: 8-18-4
Hot Players: Radim Vrbata, Max Domi, Alex Goligoski
Key Injuries: Dave Bolland, Brad Richardson
Tobias Rieder-Peter Holland-Radim Vrbata
Max Domi-Alex Burmistrov-Shane Doan
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Josh Jooris
Lawson Crouse-Jordan Martinook-Jamie McGinn
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Alex Goligoski
Kevin Connauton-Luke Schenn
Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy
Boston Bruins-32-24-6- 70 Points
Home Record: 15-13-0
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Torey Krug
Key Injuries: None
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Riley Nash-Dominic Moore-Tim Schaller
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Bruins have not played a game at the TD Garden since Feb. 12 against the Montreal Canadiens due to their bye week and a four-game road trip. On their West Coast road trip, the Bruins posted three wins and one loss while outscoring their opponents 15 to 9. The successful road trip helped the Bruins climb to the third spot in the Atlantic Division to keep them in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] The hottest player for the Coyotes this season has been forward Radim Vrbata. Through 61 contests this season he has posted 15 goals and 31 assists for 46 points, which leads the team. Vrbata has posted at least one point in each of his last nine games and will look to keep the streak going as he chases down the Coyotes franchise record of 11 straight games with a point.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Bruins forward David Pastrnak scored his 51st career goal on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. With the goal, Pastrnak now holds the Bruins record for goals before the age of 21. The record was previously held by Bruins legend and Hall-of-Famer Ray Bourque. Pastrnak does not turn 21-years old until May 25, so he will be looking to extend his record as the season winds down.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The NHL trade deadline is not until tomorrow afternoon, but the Coyotes have already been active in the trade market. On Feb. 26, the Coyotes traded forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, acquired forward Teemu Pulkkinen a day later and also traded defenseman Michael Stone last week. The trading of White, Hanzal and Stone leave big holes in the Coyotes lineup for the rest of the season as they continue to rebuild their roster.
Radim Vrbata has 9-game point streak. Record for @ArizonaCoyotes player is 11 games by Jeremy Roenick in 1999 and Shane Doan in 2008.
— Dave Vest (@davestinaz) February 27, 2017
The Coyotes are well out of the Western Conference playoff race, but the Bruins are in the middle of a tight battle for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. With the Coyotes focused on rebuilding for next season, this matchup gives the Bruins a golden opportunity to register points and gain ground in the standings.
However, there are no easy games in the NHL, so the Bruins will still have to be at the top of their game if they hope to capture a victory. The keys to the game for the Bruins will be to attack the Coyotes early, get an early lead and not allow any weak goals. If they can control the flow of the game and get a lot of pucks to the net, they should be able to put themselves in a good position to win.
For the visiting Coyotes, the key to the game lies with goaltender Mike Smith. Smith can be a streaky goaltender, but when he is on his game, it can be very difficult to get pucks past him. On top of Smith, the Coyotes are going to need another forward besides Vrbata to step up and produce goals to keep pace with the Bruins high-powered offense.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.