It’s not a full lineup by any means, and they won’t have that for quite some time, but the Boston Bruins are getting some healthy bodies back for Friday’s game against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.
Fresh off their 4-2 loss to the Rangers in New York on Wednesday, the Bruins will likely have both Brad Marchand and Noel Acciari available for Friday’s game against the Leafs. Marchand joined the team in Toronto after missing the last two games due to a concussion, while Acciari, barring any last minute changes, will make his first appearance since suffering a fractured finger on opening night.
Still, some challenges are ahead for the Black and Gold as Bruce Cassidy will once again go with a top heavy line of Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Acciari will reunite with Riley Nash and Tim Schaller giving them some help on the bottom-six, but from top to bottom, the Bruins really need a complete effort as the likes of Ryan Spooner, David Krejci and David Backes are still out.
Anton Khudobin gets the first start of a home-and-home with the Leafs, who will be without Auston Matthews (upper body, day-to-day) for the second time this season.
Looking for affordable parking and to get and out quickly for Bruins-Maple Leafs tomorrow night? Then park at Constitution Wharf (1 Constitution Rd.) to take advantage of their $15 rate and avoid the traffic outside of TD Garden. Tell them Bruins Daily sent you!
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 6-5-3 (15 points), Maple Leafs 10-7-0 (20 points)
Location: Air Canada Centre
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-Jordan Szwarz-Anders Bjork
Tim Schaller-Riley Nash-Noel Acciari
Matt Beleskey-Sean Kuraly-Jake DeBrusk
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Rob O’Gara-Kevan Miller
Maple Leafs projected lines
Leo Komarov-Nazem Kadri-William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk-Patrick Marleau-Zach Hyman
Connor Brown-Tyler Bozak-Mitch Marner
Matt Martin-Dominic Moore-Josh Leivo
Moran Rielly-Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner-Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman-Connor Carrick
– Over the last few games, the Bruins had to deal with a pair of players who always come through against the Black and Gold in Braden Holtby and Jimmy Vesey. They don’t get a reprieve tonight as Frederik Andersen gets the nod between the Toronto pipes. Including last year’s sweep, Andersen is a perfect 8-0 in his career against the B’s to go along with one shutout, a .944 save percentage and a goals against average of 1.86. Against Holtby, the Bruins were able to get traffic in the Caps end for the second and third periods. They need to do that consistently against Andersen from the get-go if they want to come away with two needed points.
– Speaking of consistency, the Bruins have been lacking that during the first period the last three games. They have given up the first goal in each of those contests and only came away victorious once in that timeframe. When scoring first this season, they have yet to lose in regulation. Though they’ve responded well when falling behind, including Wednesday’s game against the Rangers in the second and third periods, Cassidy would like to see his squad carry that same sense of urgency during the opening faceoff.
“We want to see that urgency level, but we want to see that at 7 p.m., or 8 p.m., or whenever the puck drops – Not when we’re behind by a couple, “Cassidy told the press following the loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. “That’s the message we’re trying to get through, trust me, and hopefully, it sinks in on Friday because we’ve got another tough one.”
– In addition to a hot start, the Bruins need to find efficiency on the power play. After a solid October, the B’s have gone just 1-for-13 in November with the man advantage and had a 0-for-4 showing on Wednesday night. Granted, some of the moving parts on the two power play units have played into that, but whatever clicked in October isn’t clicking in November so far. Tonight, they go up against a Leafs penalty kill that is ranked 19th with an efficiency rate of under 80 percent – 75 percent on home ice. With Marchand back, the top power play unit will at least have another weapon, but, at the very least, they need sustained pressure and quality chances from both units.