The Boston Bruins will be playing their first game at the Gillette Stadium in less than 24 hours and, if everything goes as expected, the game will be an absolute classic.
But there’s something missing from this game: the Bruins will have to rely on their defense.
Boston will have one of their best defensive units, led by top-scoring defenseman Andrew Ference, but they are also vulnerable on the offensive end.
If Boston can’t get the puck in the offensive zone quickly, the Bruins are going to struggle to get anything going.
That’s where goalie Tuukka Rask comes in.
The 25-year-old Finn is a fantastic goalie, but this game will probably be decided on how good he is.
Rask has struggled mightily during his career and has not been able to get the Bruins into any games this season.
He is currently 0-2-0 with a 2.70 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
If Rask can stay healthy and stop the Bruins in their current form, the win over the Flyers could be one of his best.
But if Rask starts the game on the bench, the team could be in for some trouble.
If the Bruins manage to score four goals in the first two periods, it will be the fourth time in the last five games that the Bruins have scored four goals or more.
If they score just one goal in the third period, it could mean the Bruins lose to the New York Islanders in regulation.
If the team doesn’t score at least three goals in regulation, the Islanders are going home for a four-game trip.
The Bruins can’t afford to fall behind and lose.
The Islanders have won four of their last five in the series.
It would be a great first win for the Bruins, who are currently 2-1-0 against the Islanders.
If that streak ends and the Bruins score three goals, they could easily get a 2-0 lead and go on a run to the Western Conference Final.
In addition to the three goals scored against the Flyers, the teams have each played three times in regulation this season, which means the Bruins can get a little revenge on the Isles.
Boston’s last three goals against the Isles came in a 4-2 win in overtime.
If it’s a repeat performance, it would be Boston’s first win in six games against the New Jersey Devils since they lost 2-3 in regulation to the Devils on April 4, 2016.
Boston is coming off a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh last Friday, which put them into the top two in the Eastern Conference.
The game was also their first win against the Philadelphia Flyers since they beat them 5-2 in the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.
The two teams are tied for third in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of the Penguins.
If Boston is able to defeat the Penguins in regulation and the Isles win, it should be the first time since January that the two teams have met.