Seven games remain for the Boston Bruins with six of those contests being played on Causeway Street.
Tonight, the Nashville Predators come to town fresh off a 2-1 win the night before against the Islanders – a huge benefit to the Bruins who still sit two points ahead of New York and one point ahead of the Lightning (following their come from behind win over the Blackhawks) for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Recent history versus the Predators has not been too kind to the Bruins. They enter tonight’s contest having lost three straight against Nashville, including a 2-1 loss earlier this season where Juuse Saros stymied the Bruins in a 36-save effort. This time, however, Pekka Rinne is expected to get the start in Nashville’s second game of a back-to-back.
With a win and a Maple Leafs regulation loss in Florida tonight, the Bruins can reclaim the third spot in the Atlantic Division. The recently resurgent Hurricanes, who sit four points in back of the B’s with a game in hand, are also in action tonight as they host the lowly Red Wings.
Even with Tuukka Rask getting the nod tonight, the Bruins may be without one of their core players. More on that in tonight’s storylines.
Gametime: 7:00 pm
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 39-30-6 (84 points), Predators 39-25-11 (89 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Drew Stafford-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Riley Nash-Dominic Moore-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-John-Michael Liles
Predators projected lines
Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala-Calle Jarnkrok-James Neal
Colin Wilson-Colton Sissons-Craig Smith
Cody McLeod-Vernon Fiddler-Austin Watson
Roman Josi-Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm-P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin-Yannick Weber
– Amidst social media and sports talk radio scrutiny after missing Saturday’s start due to a lower body injury, Rask will get the nod this evening in hopes of bouncing back after a rough outing against the Lightning five days ago. Since he exited the last meeting against the Predators back in January, Rask’s numbers have taken a hit. In that 25-game span, the 2014 Vezina Winner has given up three goals or more on 16 occasions. Though he isn’t entirely to blame for those performances, it’s safe to say that the Finn will need to steal a game or two in the last two weeks of the season to quiet the critics.
– While one core player returns, another will be a game-time decision. After leaving Monday’s practice due to an upper body issue, David Krejci could miss his first game of the season. For a guy who has had a history of injuries, playing in every game is quite the accomplishment in and of itself. Still, the Bruins could use a little more out of Krejci, who only has two points in his last five games, shall he be deemed good to go tonight.
– As the Charlie McAvoy watch continues, Bruce Cassidy is taking a little bit of a risk with his lineup this evening by inserting John-Michael Liles over Colin Miller. The veteran blue-liner last skated in the Bruins’ 6-3 win over the Stars back on February 26th. Hampered by a concussion earlier in the year and limited production upon his return, the pending UFA who has five assists in 31 games this year, will need to make the most of his opportunity because it may very well be one of his final chances to impress Cassidy and the rest of the B’s brass.