It’s no coincidence that the Bruins have won six of seven as they get closer to a clean bill of health.
The B’s ideal lineup may come sooner rather than later. Tonight against the Nashville Predators, they’ll be dressing all but two regulars – Jake DeBrusk and Adam McQuaid – as they look to make it three in a row and seven out of eight.
In their opening night victory against the Predators, the Bruins were without Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes. The trio will be in action tonight for the second and final B’s-Preds showdown of the regular season.
The Predators have a bit of a different look as well with the addition of former Senator Kyle Turris in the three-team Matt Duchene trade. Top line center Ryan Johansen, however, will miss his first game due to an upper body injury.
Both teams come in red hot with the Black and Gold notching 12 points in their last seven games and the Preds carrying a 7-2-1 mark in their last 10. These two teams always bring energy and physicality whenever they meet and tonight should be no different in the Music City in the final game of Boston’s father-son road trip.
Gametime: 8:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 12-8-4 (28 points), Predators 16-7-3 (35 points)
Location: Bridgestone Arena
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Anders Bjork
Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Predators projected lines
Kevin Fiala-Kyle Turris-Craig Smith
Filip Forsberg-Calle Jarnkrok-Pontus Aberg
Colton Sissons-Nick Bonino-Viktor Arvidsson
Miikka Salomaki-Frederick Gaudreau-Austin Watson
Roman Josi-Mattias Ekholm
Alexei Emelin-P.K. Subban
Anthony Bitetto-Yannick Weber
– For the first time since the Bruins’ Black Friday win over the Penguins, Anton Khudobin will get the nod between the pipes. The last time he appeared after a rest of at least 10 days came against the Maple Leafs back on November 10 in a solid outing despite his second overtime loss of the season after the Bruins blew a late 2-1 lead in Toronto. Khudobin, who is still among the league leaders in save percentage (.932) and goals against average (2.22) had the hot hand prior to Cassidy giving way to Tuukka Rask for a few games and we’ll see if he can continue his solid play tonight. Having both Rask and Khudobin on top of their games can only benefit the Bruins in the long run.
– The more ice time a player receives the more chances he gets to contribute. That is an obvious sentiment, but some players, like Ryan Spooner, benefit from increased ice time. Moving from third line center to second line win upon David Krejci’s return on Saturday, Spooner not only earned his most ice time (14:13) since coming back from a groin injury, but earned the coaches trust with his production. Spooner’s first period goal – and first of the season – was a thing of beauty as he went five-hole on Brian Elliott to finish a breakaway. With a three-game point streak, Spooner is making a good case to stay in the lineup if and/or when the Bruins have their ideal lineup.