Game Day Preview: Bruins at Senators
“I let my teammates down. I know that,” Brad Marchand told reporters in Ottawa prior to the Bruins-Senators contest Thursday night. “I let my organization down. I have to be better. There’s no question.”
Marchand was referring to his five-game suspension for elbowing Marcus Johansson in the third period of the B’s 3-2 win over the Devils Tuesday night at TD Garden. That, along with Charlie McAvoy recovering from a heart procedure and Noel Acciari being day to day with a lower-body injury puts the Black and Gold in a tough spot for the next couple of weeks.
They haven’t faced much adversity since going through their early-season injury bug, but Bruce Cassidy and company will have their hands full beginning Thursday night in Ottawa in the last game before the All-Star Break.
On paper, the Bruins should be able to extend their point streak to 18 in a row — even without McAvoy, Marchand and Acciari — against a lowly Senators squad that they’ve beaten twice. The Sens come in losers of four straight and will undoubtedly become sellers at the trade deadline. Perhaps Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will have his eyes set on potential suitors to help them in the home stretch.
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 28-10-8 (64 points), Senators 15-22-9 (39 points)
Location: Canadian Tire Centre
Bruins projected lines
Anders Bjork-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ryan Spooner
Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Frank Vatrano
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Senators projected lines
Mike Hoffman-Matt Duchene-Bobby Ryan
Zack Smith-Derick Brassard-Colin White
Tom Pyatt-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Ryan Dzingel
Alex Burrows-Gabriel Dumont-Chris DiDomenico
Frederik Claesson-Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf-Codi Ceci
Mark Borowiecki-Thomas Chabot
– With their forward depth hit by the Marchand suspension and Acciari injury, the Bruins recalled Anders Bjork from Providence on an emergency basis. The former Notre Dame standout struggled with consistency and injuries during his first stint with Boston and was sent down to Providence in search of confidence. He found a bit of a spark upon his arrival, tallying a point in his first three AHL games, but followed that up with a five-game point drought. Playing right wing for most of the season, Bjork moves to the left side on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Given his roller-coaster season, the Bruins are going to need to see some flashes of brilliance from Bjork during the next few games.
– Acciari’s injury paves way for Frank Vatrano’s first game since Dec. 21. With Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk and the rest of the youth movement earning their spots, Vatrano has become the team’s 13th forward. The former UMass-Amherst forward will assume fourth line duties, a spot he’ll likely stay in whenever he’s in the lineup.
– We’re one month away from the trade deadline, which is the hottest time for the rumor mill. One name in particular that Bruins fans will keep an eye on tonight is Mike Hoffman. As Elliotte Friedman reported, the Bruins are just a few teams rumored to be interested in Hoffman’s services. The 28-year-old is having a down year, but is still on pace to secure his fourth straight 20-goal season. Hoffman would be a good fit on David Krejci’s line and give the B’s some more scoring depth. If there’s ever an ideal time to impress a potential suitor, this is it.