Where: TD Garden, Boston
Brad Marchand is in the midst of a career year, with the 28-year-old seeing his name bandied about among the NHL’s elite in addition to premature discussions involving the Hart Trophy. With 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in his last 17 games, Marchand looks to keep the Bruins on the winning track on Saturday afternoon as they vie for a season series victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
“I guess the goal every year is to get better and better, but it was always just to be here and be part of the team,” said Marchand, who scored twice to pad his team-leading totals of 32 goals and 70 points in Boston’s 6-1 rout of Detroit on Wednesday. Marchand has collected six points this season against Philadelphia, scoring in a 3-2 shootout loss on Nov. 29 before celebrating his 500th career NHL game by erupting for two goals and three assists in a 6-3 triumph on Jan. 14. While the Bruins occupy third place in the Atlantic Division on the heels of a 9-3-0 surge since Bruce Cassidy replaced the fired Claude Julien on Feb. 7, Philadelphia has dropped nine of 14 (5-7-2) to fall five points behind the New York Islanders for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Captain Claude Giroux notched an assist in Thursday’s 4-2 setback to Toronto and set up a goal and scored two others in two meetings with Boston this season.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, NHL Network, CSN Philadelphia, SN360, NESN (Boston), NHL.TV
ABOUT THE FLYERS (31-27-8): Wayne Simmonds (team-leading 28 goals) snapped the team’s pronounced power-play drought on Thursday, netting his 14th goal with the man advantage to tie teammate Brayden Schenn for the NHL lead. The 28-year-old Simmonds, who resides one tally shy of 200 for his career, has joined Schenn in scoring and setting up a goal in the two meetings with Boston this season. The 25-year-old Schenn, however, has been held off the scoresheet in each of the last three games and saw his plus/minus rating drop to minus-23, matching second-year defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere for the team worst in that regard.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (35-26-6): Like Marchand, David Krejci also scored twice versus the Red Wings and added an assist to increase his point total to 15 (seven goals, eight assists) over the past 15 games. The 30-year-old, who netted a goal in each game against Philadelphia this season, has been pleased with the addition of Drew Stafford as the newly formed line with David Pastrnak recorded seven points on Wednesday. “I thought he was great,” Krejci said of Stafford, who had a goal, an assist and a plus-3 rating. “He was making plays, good on the puck, strong on the forecheck.”
1. Philadelphia RW Jakub Voracek (team-leading 37 assists, 54 points) has collected one point in nine of his last 12 games.
2. Pastrnak has two goals and seven assists during his seven-game point streak.
3. The Flyers are just 1-for-16 with the man advantage in the last four games and have yielded four goals on six short-handed situations in the last two.