Boston Bruins vs. Arizona Coyotes Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 9th 2023

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The Boston Bruins have shown a rare level of inconsistency of late and now have to hope for good news on the health front as they enter a Saturday afternoon showdown with the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

Boston is coming off a 3-1 loss to Buffalo on Thursday, putting an end to its three-game winning streak that had followed a three-game skid.

The loss also came at a price as top defenseman Charlie McAvoy exited in the third period with an upper-body injury after a collision with Buffalo’s JJ Peterka.

McAvoy did not participate in Friday morning’s practice and is considered day-to-day.

“We’re hopeful for (Saturday),” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s upper-body, nothing with the head.”

McAvoy’s injury came on the same day that Derek Forbort was placed on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body ailment that also bothered him during training camp. Mason Lohrei was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League.

The Bruins were held to just five shots in Thursday’s first period and didn’t cut into a 2-0 deficit until captain Brad Marchand scored late in the second — his fifth consecutive goal for the team over its last three games.

“Sometimes we aren’t prepared to start with the intensity that we need to,” Marchand said. “We seem to be going back and forth between the way we need to be successful and trying to be too cute, and think the game’s going to be easy at times.”

Though the Bruins sit just two points behind league-leading Vegas in the overall NHL standings, the team has had a couple of rough days. The loss followed a disappointing effort in Thursday’s practice.

“I expected us to get better every period. I think we went from awful to poor,” Montgomery said. “We didn’t really ever get to average for our game.”

Montgomery also expects goaltender Jeremy Swayman to be available after he was absent Thursday due to illness.

Arizona moved into a playoff position and above the .500 mark during a five-game win streak that was just snapped with Thursday’s 4-1 home loss to Philadelphia.

Connor Ingram allowed only five goals during the streak as Arizona became the first team in NHL history to win five straight games against the last five Stanley Cup-winning franchises, but the Flyers tagged him for four goals on 26 shots.

The loss was the Coyotes’ first since Nov. 22 against St. Louis.

“We are going to be playing hard games like that hopefully down the stretch,” Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott said. “We’re gonna have to learn to stick in games that we’re not creating much offensively and just bear down defensively and let that offensive stuff happen.”

Lawson Crouse scored the Coyotes’ lone goal against Philadelphia, which opened up its 2-1 lead with goals in the second and third periods.

Crouse is the team’s second-leading goal scorer with 11, trailing only Michael Carcone — who had netted five over the previous four games — for the team lead.

“It took too long for us to adjust and play a simple game,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said.

The game in Boston marks the start of a three-game road trip for the Coyotes. They will visit Buffalo and Pittsburgh before returning home next Friday.

–Field Level Media

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