It will be awhile until the Bruins get a clean bill of health, but until then, the next man up phase continues.
Beginning with tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks, the Bruins are set to embark on a stretch of nine games in 17 days. They will be without David Krejci to start that slate as he’ll miss the next two games with an upper-body injury.
There is some good news for the Black and Gold, however. Barring any last minute call-up from Providence, Kevan Miller will return to the blueline after missing Saturday’s game against the Sabres, a tilt where the Bruins blew a three-goal lead before ultimately falling in overtime.
Additionally, Tuukka Rask has been medically cleared just one week after sustaining a concussion during his collision with Anders Bjork at practice last week. Rask’s next start will likely come on Saturday against the Kings, but the 2014 Vezina winner will be available tonight if needed as he backs up Anton Khudobin.
The Sharks come into tonight’s game having won four of their last six, including Monday’s 4-1 triumph over the Rangers. Former Bruin Joe Thornton comes in having tallied a point in four straight games, while Logan Couture is one of the hottest players in the league with five points (four goals, one assist) in his last two games.
Though they might not be the juggernaut of years past, the Sharks are a formidable foe that should be in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race come season’s end. Against reigning Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns and company, the injury-plagued Bruins will have their hands full as they hope to bounce back from Saturday’s ugly loss versus Buffalo.
David Backes and the Bruins took both meetings over the Sharks last season. (Photo by Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily)
– With the injury to Krejci, David Backes will be the next Bruin to move from wing to center. The power forward came to Boston last season having spent most of his career at center during his days in St. Louis and is the most logical choice to skate with Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak while Krejci nurses his upper-body issue. The Bruins are hoping that Backes can get in a groove after going scoreless in his first two games in his return from diverticulitis. Whether its creating traffic in front of Martin Jones or helping DeBrusk and Pastrnak find space, the Bruins could use a productive night from the ex-Blues captain.
– Danton Heinen, who tallied three assists in his first three games in Boston this season, was recalled from Providence prior to the Bruins’ optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena. Following a solid showing during the Bruins’ road trip, Heinen picked up right where he left off with the P-Bruins as he is tied for the team lead in points with eight and ranks fourth in the AHL in assists with seven. Aside from Heinen and Tim Schaller, the Bruins haven’t gotten much offensive production from the bottom six through the first seven games. Heinen, who will likely replace Matt Beleskey, hopes to give the third and fourth lines a lift and pick up right where he left off before being assigned back to the Baby B’s last week.
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