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  • Game Day Preview: Blackhawks at Bruins

    Game Day Previews

    Game Day Preview: Blackhawks at Bruins

    Tim Rosenthal March 3, 2016

    Beginning tonight against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, the Bruins embark on their most difficult slate of the season. Thirteen of the B’s remaining 18 games are against teams who are currently in playoff positioning, and another three against teams who are battling for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — the Devils and Hurricanes (twice).

    If Tuesday’s 2-1 win against the lowly Calgary Flames was any indication, this stretch run is going to have a lot of twists and turns. So buckle up Bruins fans, because the road to the playoffs is going to get bumpy.

    Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
    TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
    Records: Bruins 35-23-6 (76 points), Blackhawks 40-20-5 (85 points)
    Location: TD Garden

    Bruins projected lines

    Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Lee Stempniak
    Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
    Loui Eriksson-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
    Landon Ferraro-Noel Acciari-Brett Connolly

    Zdeno Chara-Kevan Miller
    Torey Krug-Dennis Seidenberg
    John-Michael Liles-Adam McQuaid

    Tuukka Rask
    Jonas Gustavsson

    Blackhawks projected lines

    Andrew Ladd-Jonathan Toews-Andrew Shaw
    Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
    Andrew Desjardins-Teuvo Teravainen-Tomas Fleischmann
    Dale Weise-Dennis Rasmussen-Richard Panik

    Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
    Erik Gustafsson-Brent Seabrook
    Trevor van Riemsdyk-Christian Ehrhoff

    Scott Darling
    Corey Crawford

    Matchup to watch: Chara/Miller pairing vs. Blackhawks top six

    Blackhawks at Bruins

    Captain Zdeno Chara and fellow defensive partner Kevan Miller hope to shut down the high powered Blackhawks. (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)

    In year’s past, Zdeno Chara going up against the likes of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa (who is out tonight with a leg injury) and Patrick Kane was a game in and of itself. With Chara declining with age, and his defensive partner Kevan Miller being, well, a liability at times, the Bruins’ top defensive pairing could be in for a long night.

    Whether they’re matched up against Toews, Andrew Ladd and Andrew Shaw, or Kane (the favorite to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP), Artem Anisimov and Calder Trophy candidate Artemi Panarin, Chara and Miller, to put it mildly, will have a tough assignment. The Blackhawks top six contributed to four of the team’s five goals in yesterday’s win over the Red Wings in Detroit.

    The Blackhawks top six contributed to four of the team’s five goals in yesterday’s win over the Red Wings in Detroit. The B’s must keep Kane, Toews and company on the outside and away from the prime scoring areas if they want to be successful tonight.

    Storyline to watch: Can the fourth line keep it going

    Blackhawks at Bruins

    Landon Ferraro sparked the Bruins’ new-look fourth line with his first period goal against the Flames on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)

    In just their very first shift together as a unit, Noel Acciari, Landon Ferraro and Brett Connolly set the tone for things to come against Calgary. A great pass from Torey Krug set up Ferraro for his fifth of the season to give the B’s a 1-0 first period lead. Each member of the fourth line ended with at least 5:50 of ice time on Tuesday night. That’s a far cry from a rotating set of fourth liners in the B’s lineup this season that includes the likes Joonas Kemppainen, Zac Rinaldo and Tyler Randell.

    Each member of the fourth line ended with at least 5:50 of ice time on Tuesday night, but more importantly, they are providing a skill set that head coach Claude Julien has always wanted since the departure of the ‘Merlot Line.’

    “Well, it didn’t take them long to get that first goal right?” Julien said of his fourth line following the 2-1 win over the Flames. “They stepped on the ice, and it was in the net. So I think we got two guys there with some experience, you know Landon [Ferraro] has been here now for a while and Cons [Connolly] and like I said Noels [Acciari] was very reliable so I thought that line handled themselves well tonight.”

    With former Habs forward Dale Weise likely making his debut tonight since being traded to Chicago last week, the Bruins fourth line will face a much tougher bottom trio vs. the Blackhawks.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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