Bruins aims to continue dominance vs. Coyotes
BOSTON -- Way back on Oct. 9, 2010, the Arizona Coyotes, then known as the Phoenix Coyotes, defeated the Boston Bruins in the opening game of the season in Prague.
Phoenix/Arizona hasn't beaten the Bruins since, starting with the second game of the Prague visit.
The teams meet again for the second time this season Thursday night at TD Garden, with the Coyotes opening a three-game road trip and Boston playing the first of two games in three nights at home.
The Bruins have won the last 11 games against the Coyotes, including a 6-2 rout on Oct. 14. Captain Zdeno Chara with a goal and two assists in that game that evened Boston's record at 2-2-0 and dropped the Coyotes to 0-4-1.
Arizona (7-18-5) has been without No. 1 goalie Antti Raanta for the past six games with a lower body injury. Raanta, however, was medically cleared before the team left home.
"He's starting to feel better," coach Rick Tocchet said after Tuesday's practice. "We finally had a good practice with him because he hasn't really had a practice with the team yet. We'll get another one tomorrow, and then we'll see for Thursday."
Scott Wedgewood played all six games with Raanta out and the Coyotes sent Marek Langhamer back to the minors earlier this week.
The Bruins' goaltending picture cleared some when Tuukka Rask won his second straight in the first contest of the two-game trip at Philadelphia. Anton Khudobin's four-game winning streak ended with a shaky loss at Nashville, with Rask summoned from the bullpen to clean up the mess.
"We left (Khudobin) out to dry completely. He didn't really have a chance on any of those," Torey Krug said after Khudobin and the Bruins fell behind 4-0 in Nashville before rallying in the 5-3 setback. "Tuukks came in and slammed the door shut and gave us a shot of energy, good job by him."
Like his team, Rask doesn't lose to the Coyotes. He has nine straight wins since that game in Prague and has a 1.60 goals-against average and .941 save percentage against that team. Raanta is 1-0-0 in two outings against the Bruins.
The Coyotes, who have been off since Sunday, practiced at Boston University Wednesday -- a homecoming for rookie Clayton Keller, who was the Terriers' leading scorer in his one season there last year.
"It's going to be really cool for me to practice there with the Coyotes," Keller said Monday. "I'm sure a couple of those BU guys will watch the practice. Last year, me and my teammates watched a couple of NHL teams practice there. It's something the guys there get fired up for.
"That was an amazing year of hockey for me. We had a real good team and it was a lot of fun. It was definitely a year I'll never forget. It was truly awesome."
The Bruins' injury picture took another slight turn Wednesday when Ryan Spooner missed practice with what was apparently a recurrence of a groin injury that forced him out of the lineup earlier in the season.
But rookie Jake DeBrusk, who had been scoring before missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury, was close to returning.
"I feel good ... better than yesterday," he said Wednesday. "I'm progressing and getting close to action. You never want to get injured, and especially not when pucks are going in and you're producing. When I get back I just want to try and do the same thing. It's frustrating because you want to be in the action and keep playing when you're hot, but that's how it went."
In numbers just released by the league, the Coyotes, at an average age of 25 years, 27 days, are the youngest team in the league. Arizona players 22 years old or younger have scored 39 goals, the most of any team for players that age.
Updated December 7, 2017