With the mounting injuries over the first three weeks of the 2017-18 season, the Bruins are in a battle of attrition. Whether it’s Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to start the season or the recent injuries to Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid or Tuukka Rask, the Black and Gold are in the phase of “next man up.”
In tonight’s game against the Sabres at TD Garden, that next man is Paul Postma. The former Winnipeg Jet will play his first game in Black and Gold as he fills in for McQuaid, who will approximately miss the next eight weeks after sustaining a broken right fibula in Boston’s 6-3 win over the Canucks on Saturday.
In addition, both David Krejci (upper body) and Kevan Miller (lower body) are game-time decisions against a Sabres squad that is coming off a loss to the Canucks less than 24 hours ago.
The Bruins schedule will get a little tougher over the next few weeks. A win against first-year coach Phil Housley and the lowly Sabres would give them their first two-game win streak of the season. Given the injuries and the tough schedule ahead of them, the Bruins could certainly use any type of momentum before a five-game slate that includes the Sharks, Kings, Blue Jackets, Golden Knights and Capitals.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 3-3-0 (6 points), Sabres 1-5-2 (4 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Anders Bjork
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Kenny Agostino-Riley Nash-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Frank Vatrano
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Kevan Miller-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Paul Postma
Sabres projected lines
Evander Kane-Jack Eichel-Jason Pominville
Justin Bailey-Ryan O’Reilly-Kyle Okposo
Benoit Pouliot-Sam Reinhart-Seth Griffith
Matt Moulson-Johan Larsson-Jordan Nolan
Marco Scandella-Rasmus Ristolainen
Nathan Beaulieu-Matt Tennyson
Jake McCabe-Viktor Antipin
– While Krejci and fellow linemate David Pastrnak had fun with the media this morning following the Bruins’ optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena (as captured by Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston above), the Bruins may be forced to move some pieces if the veteran is deemed to be out tonight. David Backes and Tim Schaller are both options to move from wing to center if that’s the case. Whether or not they move up to the second line with Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk or Cassidy switches up his lines entirely will be known by the time warmups commence at TD Garden.
– If Miller isn’t ready to go, the Bruins will turn to Rob O’Gara as he was called up from Providence on an emergency basis. The former Yale standout made it all the way to the final week of training camp before reporting to the P-Bruins. Some of that was due in part to the jaw injury to Torey Krug, but O’Gara held his own during the preseason and his confidence has carried over into the start of Providence’s season. Though he may not have the offensive prowess as Krug or McaVoy, O’Gara poses a physical prowess and is slated to be a shutdown defender at the NHL level. With three games under his belt from last year, O’Gara gets his next audition with the big club against their Atlantic Division rivals tonight.
– If Patrice Bergeron’s 2017-18 four-point season debut was any indication then he may have his way with the Sabres D tonight. To state the obvious, Bergeron sure didn’t look like he had any rust as he and fellow linemates Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork were clicking on all cylinders; combining for 10 points (four goals and six assists) in their first official game together. The Sabres have given up 32 goals through eight games this season, which is tied for second most in the league. With the Sabres playing the second game of their back-to-back, things are ripe for the taking for the Bergeron line.