Game Day Preview: Bruins at Blue Jackets
The Boston Bruins are coming off one of their biggest victories of the season as they took care of the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night at TD Garden, 2-0. It was one of their better 60 minute efforts that stopped a team that had won 10 of its last 11 games.
It won’t get easier for the B’s as they start their first of a back-to-back against the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night away from home with the Montreal Canadiens waiting in Boston.
That said, the Black and Gold will be without Brad Marchand who is suffering from an undisclosed injury, as well as defenseman Adam McQuaid, who suffered a broken thumb in the team’s victory against the Blues. It’s nothing different for a team that has been hit with the injury bug all season long.
Here is your complete Bruins-Blue Jackets preview:
Gametime: 7:00 PM
TV/Radio: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 12-8-0, 24 points/Blue Jackets 6-11-1, 13 points
Location: Nationwide Arena
Bruins’ projected lines:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Seth Griffith
Matt Fraser-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Simon Gagne
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Joe Morrow-Kevan Miller
Torey Krug-Matt Bartkowski
Blue Jackets’ projected lines:
Boone Jenner-Ryan Johansen-Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell-Artem Anisimov-Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert-Alexander Wennberg-Jack Skille
Brian Gibbons-Adam Cracknell-Jared Boll
Dalton Prout-Jack Johnson
Jordan Leopold-David Savard
Kevin Connauton-James Wisniewski
Who to watch for Bruins: Niklas Svedberg
Niklas Svedberg has been a serviceable back up for Tuukka Rask this season. Although his win-loss record is 2-3, he has recorded a shutout, owns a goals against average under 2.50 and has a middle of the road save percentage at .917.
We’ve seen Svedberg bounce back from a loss before. After losing to the Islanders 3-2, he beat Buffalo in Buffalo for his second win of the season. Ironically, both of his wins have been against the lowly Sabres.
Coming off his poorest effort of the year against a tough Canadiens team in Montreal where he allowed five goals on 34 shots, Svedberg needs to prove that he can beat someone else other than the Sabres. This should be another lay up for Svedberg.
Not to forget, Svedberg replaced Tuukka Rask who was pulled in the Maple Leafs game a night before he got walloped by the Canadiens. He allowed two goals on 17 shots in relief. So, his last two outings have not been sharp.
It’s something to keep an eye on tonight in Columbus. It’s possibly the first time Svedberg has needed to overcome adversity in his young career.
Who to watch for Blue Jackets: Ryan Johansen
Much of the talk surrounding this team lately has been about the tragic news of Nathan Horton and the bankruptcy situation with Jack Johnson, but from a hockey game standpoint, Ryan Johansen has been solid on a team that has been struggling to start the season.
On Boston.com: Bruins remain supportive of Horton in tough times
In 18 games this season, Johansen has six goals and 14 assists. His 14 assists rank him ninth in the National Hockey League. The 22 year-old has one goal and five assists in his last five games for the Blue Jackets, so there is some playmaking ability here that the Black and Gold need to keep an eye on.
The Blue Jackets may only have six wins on the year, but they talented players and with a defense that has been decimated with injuries, the B’s need to keep an eye on Johansen in Columbus Friday night.
Game Day Edge: Do not look past Columbus
This game screams trap game for the Bruins. Marchand and McQuaid are out, while Montreal Canadiens await the Black and Gold tomorrow for another tilt at TD Garden.
The B’s cannot look forward to the Canadiens until the final whistle blows in the game against the Blue Jackets. Columbus may have six wins on the year, but any team can beat any team in the NHL, especially at home.
Claude Julien’s bunch knows to not look past tonight and treat this game as they would any other opponent. Sure, it is on all the players’ mind that their date with the Habs is tomorrow, but they must take care of business in Columbus and get the two points they need in order to start climbing in the standings.
Game Day Video: Relive what the Bruins had to say about their 2-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night