In the fourth game of their season long six-game road trip, the Bruins look to get back on track and take care of the lowly Blue Jackets tonight in Columbus. They also could get a couple of healthy bodies back in the lineup.
Patrice Bergeron (undisclosed) and Adam McQuaid (concussion) both took part in the morning skate. Head coach Claude Julien told reporters that both players are game-time decisions. Bergeron missed the last two games while McQuaid has been out since sustaining his head injury on January 5th against the Capitals.
With 13 days until the trade deadline, the Bruins look to string together a few more wins before the final two months of the season. It won’t be easy, however, especially during the last three games of the road trip against a Blue Jackets squad that is 6-2-2 in their last 10, a Predators team looking to hold on to their spot in the Western Conference wild card race and a Stars team that is battling for first place in the Central Division.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 30-20-6 (66 points), Blue Jackets 23-28-6 (52 points)
Location: Nationwide Arena
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron/Ryan Spooner-Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson-David Krejci-Jimmy Hayes
Matt Beleskey-Joonas Kemppainen/Ryan Spooner-David Pastrnak
Landon Ferraro-Max Talbot-Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara-Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller/Adam McQuaid
Blue Jackets projected lines
Scott Hartnell-Alexander Wennberg-Brandon Saad
Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert-William Karlsson-Nick Foligno
Kerby Rychel-Gregory Campbell-Rene Bourque
Ryan Murray-Seth Jones
Jack Johnson-Denis Savard
Fedor Tyutin-Dalton Prout
Matchup to watch: Bruins power play vs. Blue Jackets penalty kill
The once lethal Bruins power play has turned a little powerless over the last few weeks. Since returning from the All-Star break, the Black and Gold have only scored once in their last 24 attempts. While the chances and production haven’t been all that terrible, the cold streak is coming at an inopportune time. Against a Blue Jackets squad whose penalty kill success rate is under 80 percent (79.8, 11th worst in the league), the opportunity is there for the Bruins’ PP to get back on track tonight at Ohio’s capital.
Storyline to watch: Will Bergeron and/or McQuaid play?
While not the biggest asset on the blue-line, having McQuaid back in the lineup can help stabilize the B’s defense that continues to have a difficult time progressing. Whether it’s Kevan Miller’s turnovers, the inexperience from Zach Trotman, Colin Miller and Joe Morrow and the aging Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins struggles on the back end continue to be a sore spot.
Of course, McQuaid can’t cure everything and Don Sweeney still needs to upgrade the blue-line at some point if the B’s have any shot at a playoff run, but having another veteran presence who knows the system can help even a little bit.
As for Bergeron, well, it was pretty evident that they missed him against the Red Wings on Sunday. We’ll see if the three-time Selke winner — and McQuaid — join their teammates come puck drop.