ANAHEIM, Calif. — A couple of weeks ago, the Bruins eeked out a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Both teams had their share of injuries heading into their second ever matchup at TD Garden.
A similar storyline awaits the injury-plagued Black and Gold – without Brad Marchand, Anders Bjork, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, David Backes and Ryan Spooner – tonight. Across the sheet, a banged up Ducks squad will be without the services of their two top centers (Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf), their top defenseman (Cam Fowler) a few depth players (Patrick Eaves, and Ondrej Case) and their backup goaltender (Ryan Miller).
Both the Bruins and Ducks sit on the outside looking in of a playoff spot in their respective conferences. An important game awaits as both teams hope to gain a little bit of ground and get to the top eight prior to Thanksgiving.
“A lot of new faces,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said about the Ducks. “But they still play strong defensively and they’re going to get to the front of the net – and the slot. Their goaltender [John Gibson] played well the other night against Tampa and their PK is solid, so they’re going to be hard to play against.”
Being hard to play against is something Cassidy wants to implement with his squad. For tonight, the B’s need to find ways to put pucks in the net, preferably on the power play where they have just one goal in their last 16 attempts. Otherwise, the Ducks and their fourth-ranked penalty kill may very well skate to their eighth straight victory over the Black and Gold.
Gametime: 10:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 6-6-4 (16 points), Ducks 7-7-3 (17 points)
Location: Honda Center
Bruins projected lines
Peter Cehlarik-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-Jordan Szwarz-Frank Vatrano
Matt Beleskey-Sean Kuraly-Jake DeBrusk
Tim Schaller-Riley Nash-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Paul Postma-Kevan Miller
Ducks projected lines
Richard Rakell-Derek Grant-Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano-Chris Wagner-Jakob Silfverberg
Dennis Rasmussen-Antoine Vermette-Logan Shaw
Nick Ritchie-Kalle Kossila-Kevin Roy
Hampus Lindholm-Josh Manson
Francois Beauchemin-Brandon Montour
Sami Vatanen-Kevin Bieksa
– In the ongoing saga of patchworking with the four forward lines, the Bruins are forced to have another youngster step up in a top-six role. Two days after being recalled from Providence, Peter Cehlarik will fill that top-six role as he will skate with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak on the first line. Cehlarik, too, has been banged up for most of the season following a shoulder injury and only skated in six games with the P-Bruins. He made the most of his six games, however, tallying three goals and three assists. Protecting the puck and a strong forecheck are two areas that Cehlarik does pretty well already, and the Bruins could use that tonight after several turnovers proved costly during Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs.
– After his first career healthy scratch on Saturday, Jake DeBrusk will return to the lineup this evening and will skate on the third line with Matt Beleskey and Sean Kuraly to start. With all the injuries to the veterans, the rookie has had a difficult time trying to find his footing at a time where Cassidy is working with a banged-up lineup. With six points and a minus-10 rating in 15 games, DeBrusk’s early-season slump forced him to make the move, but the 2015 first rounder says he learned a few things from watching things on Level 9.
“I learned there was a lot of things that I need to improve, and that there’s a lot of things I can do to help the team,” DeBrusk said following Wednesday’s morning skate at the Honda Center. “It’s not one thing that you can necessarily learn up there [on Level 9], but there’s a lot – and you learn about yourself as well. Overall I would say it’s a combo of things [I learned] and I’m learning to implement them tonight.”
– The Bruins, themselves, need to implement a few things, but they won’t have Krejci to help the cause at least for one more night. His return will come sooner, rather than later, though as the veteran has skated the past few days. Cassidy noted that Krejci is a game-time decision for tomorrow’s tilt up the freeway in Los Angeles.