Blue Jackets-Bruins Preview
Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins are hoping a successful road trip carries over to a pair of home games this week.
They almost certainly can't fare worse than they did the last time they were in front of their New England faithful.
Marchand and the Bruins hope to start to break out of some season-long home woes Monday night when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Boston (32-21-6) completed a 4-2-0 trip with Saturday's 7-3 rout of Dallas. Marchand scored twice and added an assist as the Bruins rallied by scoring the game's final six goals over the last two periods.
Marchand had a team-high nine points on the trip and has 10 goals in February to tie Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the league lead. He has reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time.
“We have a couple of big games coming up at home and we need to be prepared to play,” Marchand told the Bruins' official website. “It's a big win and I think we're feeling pretty good, so we're going to have to try and bring it home with us.”
That may be difficult since the Bruins have the league's third-worst home record at 12-14-3 compared to their second-best road mark of 20-7-3.
The last time Boston was at home was a 9-2 loss to Los Angeles on Feb. 9 in which captain Zdeno Chara said the Bruins were “absolutely embarrassed.” That was the club's worst defeat in nearly eight years.
And while Boston will be expected to beat lowly Columbus, it may not be easy to complete a three-game season series sweep. The first two wins each went to overtime, with Loui Eriksson scoring the winning goal in last Tuesday's 2-1 victory.
The Bruins went 0 for 4 on the power play that night as part of a 0-for-19 drought on the first five games of the trip before they were 3 for 6 versus the Stars on tallies by Marchand, David Krejci and Matt Beleskey.
''We were getting a lot of looks on a lot of our power plays but the pucks weren't going in,'' coach Claude Julien said. ''Tonight we were able to capitalize. Our guys did a great job in front of that net there battling for those loose pucks or even battling to create a good screen on their goaltender.''
Boston is a league-best 26.5 percent on the power play at home.
Columbus (23-29-7) is looking to break out in similar fashion after coming up empty in its last 11 chances with the man advantage. That included six power plays in Friday's 4-0 home defeat to Buffalo.
“I thought our power play made some good plays in the latter part of the game, but we need to score early on our power play to gain momentum and we're not doing that,” coach John Tortorella said.
Rookie goalie Joonas Korpisalo has started the last 12 games for the Blue Jackets but that streak could end this week. This contest starts a back-to-back road set and Curtis McElhinney has returned from an ankle injury and could make his first start since Jan. 2.
The Blue Jackets have scored a league-low 14 goals in eight games this month.
These teams are among the NHL's most penalized, with Columbus averaging 12:15 penalty minutes and Boston 12:00.