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  • Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Predators


    Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Predators

    Tim Rosenthal October 5, 2017

    While it may feel like Stanley Cup playoff weather outside, inside the TD Garden it will be nice and cool when the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators drop the puck tonight.

    Neither the Bruins, nor Predators, will be at peak performance tonight thanks to several key injuries. Coach Bruce Cassidy and company will be without Patrice Bergeron (lower body), David Backes (illness) and Torey Krug (jaw). Both Bergeron and Backes are day-to-day with their respective injuries, while Krug skated again on Thursday with a red non-contact jersey.

    On the other side, the defending Western Conference champion Predators will be without Ryan Ellis (knee). New addition Nick Bonino, who missed all of Nashville’s camp while recovering from a broken tibia, is expected to be in the opening night lineup.

    The Bruins and Predators split their two-game season series in 2016-17, setting up a highly anticipated bout for tonight’s season opener.

    With Game 1 of 82 underway in just a matter of hours, here’s all you need to know for tonight’s matchup.

    Gametime: 7:00 pm
    TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
    2016-17 Records: Bruins 44-31-7 (95 points), Predators 41-29-12 (94 points)
    Location: TD Garden

    Bruins projected lines

    Brad Marchand-Ryan Spooner-Anders Bjork
    Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
    Matt Beleskey-Sean Kuraly-Frank Vatrano
    Tim Schaller-Riley Nash-Noel Acciari

    Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
    Kevan Miller-Charlie McAvoy
    Matt Grzeclyk-Adam McQuaid

    Tuukka Rask
    Anton Khudobin

    Predators projected lines

    Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson
    Scott Hartnell-Nick Bonino-Kevin Fiala
    Miikka Salomaki-Colton Sissons-Craig Smith
    Cody McLeod-Calle Jarnkrok-Austin Watson

    Roman Josi-Matt Irwin
    Mattias Ekholm-P.K. Subban
    Alexei Emelin-Yannick Weber

    Pekka Rinne
    Juuse Saros

    Tonight’s storylines

    Bruins vs. Predators

    Ryan Spooner replaces an injured Patrice Bergeron on the Bruins’ top scoring line. (Photo by Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily)

    – With Bergeron out, Ryan Spooner slots in as the top line center with Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork. Clearly looking for a bounce-back season, Spooner made a good impression at training camp and hopes that translates into the regular season. The 25-year-old avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract worth $2.825 million in the off-season. Clearly, he’ll need to post better numbers than his 11-28-39 totals a year ago, as well as show improvement in faceoffs and the defensive area, if he wants to get a longer-term deal in the off-season, and he’ll have a good first chance to showcase his talents on the top line.

    – The Backes injury also puts the Bruins’ bottom six in a little bit of a jam. With Spooner moving to the first line, Sean Kuraly will slot in as the third line center with two players who also look to bounce back from a year ago in Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano. While Beleskey showed a spark at camp, Vatrano’s frustrations continued into the preseason. Though he made the final roster cuts, Vatrano hopes to bring his A game – or at least his B game. Otherwise, he may find himself on Level 9 once Backes heals up.

    – From top to bottom, the Bruins are going to need all 18 players in rhythm, specifically on special teams. Riley Nash slots in Bergeron’s special team assignments as the center on the top penalty kill quartet and will also play the bumper on the first power play unit.

    – Three Bruins rookies will be making their regular season debuts tonight: Anders Bjork, Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk. The trio will have some high profile assignments too with Bjork slotting at first line right wing, DeBrusk skating with David Krejci and David Pastrnak and McAvoy pairing with Kevan Miller on the second defensive pair. Bjork, and DeBrusk should also see time on the second power play unit, while McAvoy mans the point on the top power play unit.

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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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