Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Jets
For the Boston Bruins, another test is upon them. Not only are they facing the high-powered Winnipeg Jets tonight at TD Garden, but they’ll be without the services of David Pastrnak for a second straight game with an upper body injury.
This isn’t exactly anything new for the Black and Gold. Pastrnak will be missing his fourth game of the year with two other games coming from his suspension for his high hit on Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi at Madison Square Garden in late October.
Pastrnak isn’t the only core members of the Bruins that have missed time due to injury. To start the 2016-17 season, the B’s were without the services of Patrice Bergeron for their three-game road trip and went 2-1. That stretch included a 4-1 victory against the same Jets squad in the third game of the season. On the other hand, without Tuukka Rask, the Bruins are 0-5-0 without their early season Vezina candidate.
Rask will be back in net tonight as he looks to contain the NHL’s leading goal scorer Patrik Laine, co-leading point getter Mark Scheifele, former Bruin Blake Wheeler and the rest of the up and coming Jets.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 10-7-0 (20 points), Jets 9-8-2 (20 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Riley Nash
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-David Backes
Matt Beleskey-Dominic Moore-Austin Czarnik
Sean Kuraly-Tim Schaller-Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
John-Michael Liles-Joe Morrow
Jets projected lines
Nikolaj Ehlers-Mark Scheifele-Patrik Laine
Marko Dano-Nicolas Petan-Blake Wheeler
Andrew Copp-Adam Lowry-Brandon Tanev
Quinton Howden-Alex Burmistrov-Chris Thoburn
Josh Morrisey-Dustin Byfuglien
Tobias Enstrom-Jacob Trouba
Ben Chariot-Paul Postma
– Still looking for an offensive spark, Patrice Bergeron enters Saturday’s game carrying a streak of six straight without tallying a single point. This marks the first time since the 2013-14 season where Bergeron was held without a goal or assist in such a span. It’s not like he hasn’t gotten chances either as seen with his 25 shots on goal over that time, but the last thing the Bruins need is Bergeron getting more snakebitten and frustrated with every quality attempt that doesn’t get rewarded.
– Over the last four games, the Bruins have rarely found themselves on the power play. In fact, they have just six power play attempts in that span. And when they do get opportunities on the man advantage, they haven’t been generating much in terms of quality chances. Against a Winnipeg team that has been shorthanded 64 times this season – good for a tie for eighth in the league with Boston – the Bruins could use that opportunity to generate more power play chances. Whether they can find time and space or generate scoring chances is another story as the Bruins hope to climb out of the bottom third in power play percentage.
– Continuing with the power play, Jimmy Hayes skated in Pastrnak’s spot with Brad Marchand and Matt Beleskey up front and point men Austin Czarnik and John-Michael Liles on the second power play unit. The top five on the man advantage remained intact with Bergeron centering David Backes and Ryan Spooner at the wings and David Krejci and Torey Krug manning the points.
– In a year where the Bruins have hit the road frequently, the team will have a little bit of comfort at TD Garden finally. Starting tonight, the Bruins will play four of their next five on Causeway Street in a stretch that also includes the Blues, Flames and Lightning. With some pundits believing that being in a top eight after Thanksgiving is a good omen, the Bruins, who have won two straight at home and currently sit in ninth place in the East, hope to make the Garden a tougher place to play and get some quality wins against playoff-caliber teams before Turkey Day weekend comes to a close.
– One other notable roster news from today’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin has been cleared to play as he is fully healed from an upper body injury suffered in practice in late October. He will start for the Providence Bruins tonight in Springfield.