Bruins Face Challenging West Coast Road Trip

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The Boston Bruins begin their five-game west coast road trip Friday night. They’ll take on the slumping Anaheim Ducks at 10 p.m.

After Tuesday’s 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden, the Bruins currently find themselves in third place in the Atlantic Division. They trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by only one point.

Offensive production

Just as everyone expected, the Bruins had no trouble finding the back of the net against the Blackhawks in their first game without leading goal scorer David Pastrnak. Danton Heinen turned in one of his best performances of the season. He tallied a goal and two assists alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the first line. Jake DeBrusk got back in the scoring column as well with a goal and two assists of his own.

The black-and-gold are on a three-game win streak and have collected at least a point in each of their last eight games. The Bruins will need their offense to continue to produce at a high level if they hope to beat the likes of the Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks, and St. Louis Blues. The Knights are in third place in the Pacific Division while the Sharks are in first place and winners of six straight. The Blues struggled at the beginning of the year but have now won seven in a row. They currently sit in the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

In the absence of Pastrnak, who has 31 goals on the year, the Bruins will look to their second, third and fourth line players for offense. Players such as David Krejci, Peter Cehlarik, DeBrusk and Heinen will be heavily relied upon whichever line head coach Bruce Cassidy assigns them to.

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Trade possibilities

A trade is another possibility for the B’s. With the trade deadline approaching on February 25, there have been numerous rumors about the Bruins looking to acquire a goal-scorer. Last season it was Rick Nash but only time will tell if general manager Don Sweeney pulls the trigger again.

In net, goaltender Tuukka Rask will look to get back to midseason form. Rask gave up four goals against the Kings last Saturday and three goals against the Blackhawks. He would certainly like to have one of them back:

Jaroslav Halak, on the other hand, had a monster performance against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. He made 35 saves on 36 shots in the Bruins’ 2-1 overtime victory.

Looking ahead

With only 25 games remaining before the playoffs, the Bruins, Canadiens and Maple Leafs remain in a battle for the second and third seeds in the Atlantic Division. With the Lightning seemingly in control for the Eastern Conference’s number one seed, the battle for home ice in the first round of the playoffs stays up for grabs.

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