The Boston Bruins will have to go without Zdeno Chara (injured knee), Gregory Campbell (fractured foot) and Daniel Paille (mild concussion) to start off their week. The Los Angeles Kings, meanwhile, come to town with a new bench boss in former Flyers coach John Stevens (on an interim basis), who replaces Terry Murray one day after his firing.
Either way, there are a lot of questions going into Tuesday’s matchup at the TD Garden.
The Bruins have dropped four straight contests to the Kings dating back to 2009, including a shootout loss and a regulation defeat in two meetings during the 2010-11 season.
Fresh off relief duty in Columbus, goaltender Tuukka Rask will look to help snap that four-game skid against LA, while former UMass-Amherst netminder Jonathan Quick is expected to get the start for the Kings, who have dropped four straight.
More after the jump…
Puck Drop: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
2011-12 season series: First Matchup
Expected goalie matchup: Rask vs. Quick
What to watch for (Bruins):
With Chara and Campbell out, head coach Claude Julien will need to shuffle around some of his lines and defensive pairings. Campbell, who serves as a gritty center on the fourth line, has been one of the best faceoff men for the Black and Gold, while Chara, the team’s top shutdown defenseman, is arguably having another Norris Trophy caliber season. Steven Kampfer is expected to fill Chara’s void in the lineup — pairing with Bruins Daily Player of the Week Joe Corvo — while former first round pick Zach Hamill, who was called up on an emergency basis, will most likely fill Campbell’s void on the fourth line.
After another slow start to the year, Rask has bounced back nicely in his last five starts going 3-1-1 giving up only six goals and sustaining a .960 save percentage in that span. Tuukka is 0-1 lifetime against the Kings, but with a trip to Ottawa after the game, Rask will get the nod in the first of a back to back with Tim Thomas getting the start Wednesday.
What to watch for (Kings)
How the Kings respond to the firing of Murray remains to be seen. But LA has a good chance of making a good impression under Stevens against the shorthanded Bruins.
With a slew of talent, including Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty, one would think that the Kings would have enough firepower offensively. But LA ranks dead last in the league offensively (2.21 goals per game), and has let Quick hung out to dry despite only giving up 2.24 goals per contest, good for sixth.
Stevens, who was more of an offensive minded coach in Philly (who hasn’t been with the goaltending carousel year after year?) will look to get the most out of his talented squad even if the interim basis is brief (see Kings’ gameday links)
Gameday links (Bruins):
Jesse Connolly ranks the Bruins’ fans six most hated foes in the December 2011 edition of the New England Hockey Journal
Justin Aucoin from Days of Y’Orr has his take on Sidney Crosby blaming David Krejci for his recent “setback”.
Comcast Sportsnet’s Joe Haggerty explains the significance of Chara’s loss.
Update: According to ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald, Paille is listed as a gametime decision
Gameday links (Kings):
Lisa Dillman from the Los Angeles Times has more on Murray’s firing.
Rich Hammond from the popular LA Kings Insider blog reports that the Kings are looking at former Calgary Flames general manager Darryl Sutter to perhaps be the team’s next bench boss.