Game 4 of 82 and the Bruins are still in their next man up phase.
Entering tonight’s game in Arizona, the Black and Gold will likely be without Patrice Bergeron for the fourth straight game as he heals from his lower body ailment. Though Bergeron has skated on his own during this trip, the four-time Selke winner will likely have to wait to make his season debut until the Bruins come back from their west coast trip this coming week.
Coming off their 0-for-2 showing against the Avalanche in their home and home to begin the week, the Bruins face a Coyotes bunch looking for their first win of the 2017-18 season. Like the Bruins, the ‘Yotes have some pretty good depth in their prospect system, including former Boston University standout Clayton Keller who is team’s co-leader in scoring – along with fellow linemate Max Domi – with four points.
As evident by their first three games, the young Bruins are going to have a lot of ups and downs throughout the 2017-18 season. Having Bergeron back, along with David Backes and eventually, Noel Acciari, will help, but things will not always be so smooth for Bruce Cassidy and company.
This begs the question: which Bruins team will show up in Arizona – and in Vegas – this weekend. Will it be the team that impressed on opening night against the defending Western Conference champion Predators? Or will it be the team that laid two eggs against an improved Avalanche squad?
Gametime: 9:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins, 1-2-0 (2 points), Coyotes 0-3-1 (1 point)
Location: Gila River Arena
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Riley Nash-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Anders Bjork
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Frank Vatrano
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Danton Heinen
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Charlie McAvoy
Coyotes projected lines
Max Domi-Derek Stepan-Clayton Keller
Lawson Crouse-Christian Dvorak-Christian Fischer
Mario Kempe-Brad Richardson-Tobias Reider
Jordan Martinook-Nick Cousins-Anthony Duclair
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Adam Clendenning
Niklas Hjalmarsson-Jason Demers
Alex Goligoski-Luke Schenn
– With 11 goals allowed in his first three games, Tuukka Rask could use a little bit of a rest. He’ll get that tonight as Anton Khudobin, who was solid in relief of Rask during the third period of Wednesday’s 6-3 loss in Denver, makes his first start of the season. Following a strong finish to 2016-17 where he won six of his last seven starts, Khudobin picked up right where he left off during training camp and solidified the backup spot after fending off Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban. Against the Coyotes, however, Khudobin has had some difficulties as he is 0-2-0 in two career contests vs. Arizona to go along with a .821 save percentage and 7.02 goals against average. Hoping to avoid a three-game skid, the Bruins would like nothing more than for Khudobin to break his troubling trend against the Coyotes.
– The Bruins’ short-term solution without Bergeron? Defensively, it’s getting bodies in front and disrupting the shooting lanes. That’s what they didn’t do against the Avs. Offensively, it’s to build off their third period in Denver where they finally found their rhythm and created second and third scoring chances as seen with the two tallies from Tim Schaller and Torey Krug. The Bruins could use a lot more of that from both the vets (like David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara) and youngsters (like Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk). Doing that should result in win No. 2 on the season.