With the postseason clinched, the Bruins entered the last two games looking to improve their scenarios before the first round begins next week.
Well, they didn’t get any help when Brad Marchand earned a two-game suspension on Thursday for his spear on Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin two nights earlier. They could have used him in Game 81 in another tightly contested loss to the Ottawa Senators – this time in a shootout.
They will be without Marchand for Game 82. But that’s not the only body the Bruins won’t have in the lineup as Torey Krug (lower body) and Noel Acciari (upper body) are day to day and will miss this afternoon’s contest with the Capitals, who are fresh off capturing their second straight Presidents’ Trophy.
Although they are a combined 0-7-1 against the Sens and Maple Leafs, the Bruins would prefer either matchup compared to the Caps. A win would guarantee the Bruins at least third place in the Atlantic Division. A loss, combined with a three-point weekend for Toronto would pit the B’s against the top team in the league – and place them in the Metropolitan Division bracket of death.
Gametime: 3:00 pm
TV/Radio: NBC/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 44-30-7 (95 points), Capitals 54-18-8 (116 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Ryan Spooner-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Frank Vatrano-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Drew Stafford-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Matt Beleskey
Riley Nash-Dominic Moore-Tim Schaller
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
John-Michael Liles-Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller-Kevan Miller
Capitals projected lines
Alexander Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Evgeni Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Paul Carey-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Dmitri Orlov-Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Kevin Shattenkirk
Karl Alzner-Nate Schmidt
– With his immigration status cleared, Bruins fans will be seeing the debut of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson this afternoon as he centers Drew Stafford and Matt Beleskey. After a solid two-year career just a few blocks away at Boston University, the B’s have high hopes for the Swede that was selected in the second round of the 2015 Entry Draft. The youngster better known as JFK is known to be calm, cool and collected and he hopes that his two-way presence translates nicely at the NHL level. With his style of play, Forsbacka-Karlsson doesn’t have to look too far for advice with three-time Selke Award winner Patrice Bergeron in the same room.
– For the second straight year, Tuukka Rask will not play in the regular season finale. But there’s a good reason for that this time around. Not only will he be well-rested when the postseason begins next week, but this gives another nod for Anton Khudobin who has won six straight contests, including his last appearance against the Blackhawks. Who ever thought the Bruins would have their backup goaltending situation solved during the Bruce Cassidy era?