This will be the busiest week in over a month for the Boston Bruins. Four games this week, and not a lot of slack to be had. With just three points between the Bruins and Toronto, and four between them and a resurgent Ryan Miller and his Sabres faltering now could send them as low as fifth or six in the conference.
Monday night they take to the ice against the conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins have three more points than the Bruins but the same number of wins over three additional games. Crosby is back, Malkin is healthy, and Staal is always dangerous. The Penguins do have a few guys injured who may or may not make the lineup. Chief among them are blueliners Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek, between the two you are looking at the defensemen with the top poweplay time, and top shorthanded time.
Tuesday night is another tilt with Winnipeg Jets. Old friends Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler will be looking to put on a show for the home crowd. Evander Kane, a former Vancouver Giant like Milan Lucic will be ready to score, hit and fight as usual and Dustin Byfugelin will likely put on another all star worthy performance. Antropov, Fehr, and Hainsey are all listed as questionable for the game.
Thursday night they are home to welcome the southeast division leading Florida Panthers. Jason Garrison has a cannon, Marco Sturm will no doubt look to remind Bruins brass what they had and let go. Kris Versteeg doesn’t appear to have many friends on the Bruins roster, and his last game against the Bruins featured some unfriendly exchanges between numerous Bruins, including his former Providence Bruins linemate David Krejci.
Saturday night is a date with the desperate Columbus Blue Jackets. When we saw them here in Boston not long ago they took the Bruins down to the shootout. Carter, Umberger, Wiesnewski , Nash and the rest will put up a fight. After their loss to the Bruins they went on to play their best hockey of the season. This tenacious bunch could give the Bruins fits and the way Sanford is playing anything is possible.
There are eight points up for grabs this week, and the potential to push the current win streak to seven. If they do manage to beat all four teams they would be 17-0-1 since their last regulation loss. Rich Peverley should play his 300th NHL game against the Jets on Tuesday, it would also be Tyler Seguin’s 100th NHL game (feel free to guess which get’s more attention). Chris Kelly is 2 assists short of his 200th career point.