The return to full health isn’t quite there yet for the Boston Bruins, but they are getting closer.
Both Anders Bjork and David Krejci joined the Black and Gold to begin their two-game road trip in Philadelphia. The rookie Bjork and veteran Krejci are both questionable for this afternoon’s matchup against a Flyers team that has lost nine straight.
Last week, the Bruins came off a win against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins only to lose their next game to a surprisingly struggling Edmonton Oilers squad two days later.
Fresh off their 3-2 win over the Lightning on Wednesday, Tuukka Rask and the Bruins hope to avoid a similar fate from last week. Against a Flyers team that is struggling to find any consistency, the Bruins hope to get off to another solid start and leave Philadelphia with another two points as they slowly, but surely, start to get more healthy bodies back in the coming days.
Gametime: 1 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 11-8-4 (26 points), Flyers 8-10-7 (23 points)
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-David Backes
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Anders Bjork
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Flyers projected lines
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Danick Martel-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Valtteri Filppula-Travis Konecky
Dale Weise-Scott Laughton-Jori Lehtera
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Brandon Manning
– Given the potential returns of Bjork and Krejci, we won’t know what the Bruins’ lineup will look like until Bruce Cassidy confirms who’s in and who’s out with the media. What we do know is that Rask gets the nod this afternoon and Anton Khudobin will start against the Predators on Monday night. While he wasn’t lights out in the win over Tampa on Wednesday, Rask made some timely saves in the second and third periods – most notable on Nikita Kucherov’s one-timer late in the middle stanza – and held off the late Lightning push. Hoping to have two goaltenders on top of their game(s), Cassidy is getting closer to that coming to fruition as Rask looks to add to his impressive career stats against the Flyers (12-2-3, 2.10 GAA, .926 SV%).
– Say what you want about David Backes $6 million salary, but the former Blues captain still finds ways to contribute outside of the scoresheet. In his return to the lineup following colon surgery on Wednesday night, Backes didn’t shy away from contact and stayed engaged in his puck pursuit. He might be a minus-four with one assist in his six games this season, but Backes’ versatility and intangibles give Cassidy and the Bruins coaching staff plenty of lineup possibilities.