All things considered, the Bruins are treading water without Zdeno Chara. Although things could have been better in their three games without their 6-foot-9 captain, they also could have been a lot worse.
Case in point Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning where John-Michael Liles left the game early in the first period after a brutal collision with the boards as he tripped over Ben Bishop’s stick during a battle for the loose puck. Despite playing with five defensemen the rest of the way, the Bruins kept the high-powered Lightning in check and found some offense en route to a 4-1 victory and snapped their three-game skid.
The Bruins look to make it two in a row against a Flyers team that surpassed the Black and Gold for the final Eastern Conference wild card spot last season. Though they won’t be looking in the past, the present presents another challenging task for the Black and Gold as Chara and Liles did not accompany the team to the ‘City of Brotherly Love.’
The Flyers come in as the highest scoring team in the league with 72 goals, but their goaltending and defensive issues have also been front and center through their first 23 games. Their 76 goals against are tied for most in the league with the Flames and Stars.
Given circumstances, this has the potential to be a high-scoring contest. We’ll see if that turns out to be the case.
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 12-10-0 (24 points), Flyers 10-10-3 (23 points)
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Tim Schaller-David Krejci-David Backes
Matt Beleskey-Riley Nash-Austin Czarnik
Ryan Spooner-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Brandon Carlo
Joe Morrow-Colin Miller
Flyers projected lines
Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecky-Nick Cousins-Wayne Simmonds
Chris VandeVelde-Brayden Schenn-Robin Lyubimov
Matt Read-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Dale Weise
Michael Del Zotto-Mark Streit
Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere
Ivan Provorov-Radko Gudas
– Looking for someone to contribute offensively outside of David Pastrnak, the Bruins got a pretty well-rounded performance on Sunday. Two of those four goals came from the fourth line with Dominic Moore continuing his surprising offensive output with his sixth of the season and Jimmy Hayes getting his first of 2016-17 to break a 35-game scoring dry spell. Against the Flyers’ struggling defense, head coach Claude Julien and company would love a similar performance from his four scoring lines again tonight.
– During the last preseason game of the season, Radko Gudas delivered a high, late hit to the head on Austin Czarnik. The Flyers defensemen earned a six-game suspension for the hit while Czarnik was able to clear concussion protocol in time for the Bruins’ season opener in Columbus. Perhaps there will be a chance for one of the Bruins to challenge Gudas tonight, but that may be more of a heat of a moment thing than a layover effect. With two points on the line in late November, the Bruins and Flyers both have a bigger task in hand.