Boston at Columbus
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
The Christmas break couldn’t come at a better time for most NHL teams but perhaps not for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who will be hoping the three days off will not slow the momentum of the best run in franchise history. The rampaging Blue Jackets take aim at their 13th consecutive victory when they play host to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.
Red-hot Columbus has surged to the top of the NHL standings on the heels of a 12-game winning streak, capped by back-to-back victories over defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh and Atlantic Division-leading Montreal. “They should feel very proud of where they are at right now,” coach John Tortorella said of the Blue Jackets, who also are riding a 14-game point streak. Although it’s hardly a string that can rival that of Columbus, Boston has earned points in seven straight games away from home (3-0-4) as it resumes a four-game road trip. The Bruins have flexed their offensive muscles in winning both matchups against the Blue Jackets this season, scoring 11 goals and winning at Columbus 6-3 in the season opener.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, NESN (Boston), FSN Ohio (Columbus)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (18-14-4): Boston went into the break with a sour taste in its mouth, squandering a two-goal lead in a 3-2 overtime loss at Carolina to fall to 10-5-4 on the road. Their success against Columbus notwithstanding, the Bruins rank 25th in the NHL with a meager average of 2.31 goals per game. “We’ve been frustrated for a while,” said defenseman Torey Krug, who collected a pair of assists against the Hurricanes. “We can’t score more than two goals right now, and we know if we give up more than two it’s tough for us to win.”
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (23-5-4): The cannon was firing regularly at Nationwide Arena in Thursday’s 7-1 demolition of Pittsburgh, but Columbus posted a more tradition 2-1 win over Montreal behind a 36-save performance for Sergei Bobrovsky. “It’s the most important position in hockey. We have probably one of the best goalies in the league here, so it has helped us quite a bit during this little streak,” Tortorella said. Bobrovsky has won 10 straight starts, but he’s never beaten Boston (0-4-2, 3.42 goals-against average) in seven appearances.
1. Bruins G Tuukka Rask is 7-2-0 with a 1.99 GAA against the Blue Jackets, including the two victories this season.
2. Blue Jackets F Cam Atkinson leads the team with 15 goals and owns a career-best nine-game point streak.
3. Columbus’ previous high point total at Christmas was 37.