Game Day Preview: Bruins at Panthers
The injuries keep piling up for the Boston Bruins.
Their latest bout with the injury bug came Tuesday night when Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug all went to the locker room in the third period — prior to Boston’s come from behind win from 4-1 down in Carolina — against the Hurricanes. Both DeBrusk and Chara will miss the two-game Florida leg with upper body injuries, while Krug is a game-time decision after skating with the team this morning in Sunrise.
With the latest set of injuries, Anton Blidh and Paul Postma were called up from Providence on an emergency basis. Blidh will serve as the extra forward, while Postma could fill in for Krug if the latter is deemed out.
Regardless, the Bruins will be without their top center in Patrice Bergeron and both of their top pairing defensemen in Chara and Charlie McAvoy against a red-hot Panthers squad that is 8-1-1 in their last 10 and within striking distance of the final wild-card spot in the East.
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 44-16-8 (96 points), Panthers 34-26-7 (75 points)
Location: BB&T Center
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Riley Nash-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-David Krejci-Rick Nash
Tommy Wingels-David Backes-Brian Gionta
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Nick Holden-Kevan Miller
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Panthers projected lines
Evgeny Dadonov-Aleksander Barkov-Nick Bjugstad
Jonathan Huberdeau-Vincent Trocheck-Frank Vatrano
Jamie McGinn-Jared McCann-Denis Malgin
Maxim Mamin-Derek McKenzie-Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle-Aaron Ekblad
Michale Matheson-Mark Pysyk
Mackenzie Weegar-Alex Petrovic
“Yeah, he just keeps on ticking,” Bruce Cassidy said about Brad Marchand following his third-straight game-winning goal last Thursday against the Flyers. “You know, him and Pasta [David Pastrnak] have done a nice job without Bergy [Bergeron], and so has Riley Nash filling in there…”
– Indeed, Marchand is stepping up in Bergeron’s absence. So are his fellow linemates in Nash and Pastrnak with the latter sparking the third-period comeback in Carolina with his first career hat trick. The makeshift trio has carried the injury-plagued Black and Gold; combining for 14 goals and 38 points in their last eight games. Cassidy, for sure, will rely on Nash, Marchand and Pastrnak heavily against the resurgent Panthers, but make no mistake, all three have taken their game to new heights in the last few weeks.
– It’s been nearly a month since Frank Vatrano was dealt to the Panthers, and the ex-Bruin and East Longmeadow native seems to be doing pretty well for himself in South Florida. The former UMass-Amherst standout has provided some good early returns in his first two games with his new club as he settles into a top-six role. Unlike his diminished ice time in Boston, Vatrano is finding himself on the ice often; averaging a little over 16 minutes time on ice and tallying a goal in his first two games. Like Ryan Spooner, Vatrano needed a change of scenery. Unlike Spooner, Vatrano will get a few chances to strike against his former club beginning Thursday night in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs.