Game Day Preview: Bruins at Jets
Through two games, the identity of the 2016-17 Boston Bruins is still a work in progress. That trend will likely continue during the course of the year, including their matchup against a Winnipeg Jets team that is two years removed from their first playoff appearance since relocating from Atlanta.
Both teams are coming off losses following their opening night victories. The Bruins are fresh off a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs in a game that they looked flat from the opening puck drop, while the Jets come back to the MTS Centre following a 4-3 loss in a game where they held a 2-0 first period lead.
From former Bruin and now current Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler to the second overall pick in this year’s draft Patrik Laine to Dustin Byfuglien on the back end and ex-UMass-Lowell goaltender Connor Hellybuck, the Jets have a healthy mix of youth and veterans. Given their track record of drafting and developing, the future is looking pretty good in Winnipeg.
The Bruins will need to come out flying if they want to Jet out of Winnipeg with two points to finish off the three-game road trip.
Gametime: 8:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 1-1-0 (2 points), Jets 1-1-0 (2 points)
Location: MTS Centre
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-David Backes-David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Danton Heinen
Matt Beleskey-Austin Czarnik-Jimmy Hayes
Dominic Moore-Riley Nash-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Rob O’Gara
John-Michael Liles-Colin Miller
Jets projected lines
Patrik Laine-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler
Nikloaj Ehlers-Mathieu Perreault-Drew Stafford
Kyle Connor-Alex Burmistrov-Joel Armia
Brandon Tanev-Adam Lowry-Shawn Matthias
Josh Morrisey-Dustin Byfuglien
Tobias Enstrom-Tyler Myers
Mark Stuart-Paul Postma
– Tuukka Rask will get the nod between the pipes tonight. The 2014 Vezina winner watched from the bench in Toronto as Anton Khudobin — like the rest of the team — had a rough night. Rask tweaked his leg in Columbus and was given a maintenance day on Friday and a night off on Saturday even though his career numbers against the Leafs are outstanding (15-3-2, 1.87 goals against average, .935 save percentage). Despite a rough start against the Blue Jackets, Rask and the Bruins persevered. The Finnish goalie and the rest of the team will need a better start in Winnipeg tonight.
– Without Patrice Bergeron for a third straight game, the top line of David Pastrnak, David Backes (who missed most of the third period in Toronto after tweaking his hand in a fight with Nazem Kadri) and Brad Marchand will stay in tact to close out the road trip. The trio have scored all of the Bruins’ seven goals through two games and will look to get off to a good start tonight. On the flip side, head coach Claude Julien needs his other three lines to step in and contribute on the scoresheet. Otherwise, he may have to make some in-game adjustments.
– The young Bruins D is still a work in progress. Some of the struggles are expected for a team that is starting two rookies on the back end in Brandon Carlo and Robbie O’Gara. The Jets have pretty good depth up front with Wheeler, Laine, Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perrault and Kyle Conner and their D have been known to transition the puck quickly, despite not having Jacob Trouba. Some of the B’s defensive miscues are a little concerning through two games, but we’ll see if they have any improvements tonight.
– An interesting tidbit for tonight the Bruins will be the first team to face the top two players selected in the 2016 Draft. On Saturday, they held Matthews off the scoresheet — a game removed from his four-goal outburst in his NHL debut. Tonight, they’ll get their first look at Laine, who has a goal and an assist through two games.
– It also appears that we’ll have a lineup change for the first time this season. Tim Schaller, signed by the Bruins from Buffalo in the off-season, is expected to make his season debut in place of Austin Czarnik.
Czarnik had long chat with Julien and is now taking extra skating. Looks like Schaller draws in
— steve conroy (@conroyherald) October 17, 2016