Game Day Preview: Bruins at Senators
2017 has been an eventful year for the Boston Bruins. From Bruce Cassidy taking over to the youth movement, the Black and Gold are making significant strides toward a postseason return.
Before they officially make their New Year’s resolutions, the Bruins look to end 2017 on a high note on Saturday in their second meeting of 2017-18 against the Ottawa Senators.
This time, Cassidy will have David Krejci’s services. The veteran forward missed the last six games because of an upper-body injury but is back for the B’s final game of 2017 as he centers Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner. Anders Bjork sits as a healthy scratch for the second time in his career.
Adam McQuaid, who is healed from his tibia injury suffered in October, will have to wait until 2018 for his return. Cassidy will keep his defensive core intact against a Sens squad that earned a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets less than 24 hours ago.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 20-10-6 (46 points), Senators 12-16-8 (32 points)
Location: Canadian Tire Centre
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ryan Spooner
Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Senators projected lines
Ryan Dzingel-Matt Duchene-Bobby Ryan
Tom Pyatt-Derick Brassard-Mark Stone
Mike Hoffman-Filip Chlapik-Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Nick Paul-Nate Thompson-Alexandre Burrows
Johnny Oduya-Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf-Cody Ceci
Ben Harpur-Thomas Chabot
– As an undersized defenseman, Torey Krug will have his share of defensive issues from time to time. That was exactly the case in the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Capitals on Thursday night as the 5-foot-9 blue-liner struggled in his own end. Cassidy benched the former Michigan State Spartan following the tying goal in the third period and didn’t use him in the 3-on-3 overtime. As frustrating as his play is in his own end, Krug has shown the ability to bounce back following a tough performance. We’ll see if Thursday was a blip on the radar or if the issues escalate.
“I don’t know if it happens overnight if there’s a confidence issue. I just see a guy that needs to use his feet more,” Cassidy told the press about Krug following B’s practice Friday in Ottawa.
“I don’t think it’s any different from a lot of defensemen we’ve talked about this year or last year about gap control. It just makes it tougher to play against when you’re up. I think he’s trying to get back on pucks as quickly as possible, assuming there’s a dump, and that’s not always the case and then he gets caught a little bit because there’s room for the forward to play in front of him. So that’s what we talked to him about and hopefully, he buys into it.”
– Thanks to his two-game suspension for his high hit on Noel Acciari Wednesday night, Frederik Claesson will miss the second Bruins-Sens matchup. Tim Schaller, who challenged Claesson following the hit, earned an extra two minutes for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct. Things have been chippy between the Bruins and Sens over the past few games – including last year’s first-round series. Expect much of the same in Canada’s capital city.