Game Day Preview: Bruins at Jets
It’s been quite an eventful 48 hours for the Boston Bruins. First came the reinforcements in Patrice Bergeron (who missed 13 games with a foot injury) and Torey Krug (who missed a pair with an upper-body issue) who both had a solid outing in Minnesota on Sunday. Next came some unlikely help from the Coyotes and Sabres in their respective wins over the Lightning and Maple Leafs 24 hours later.
Regardless of what happens in Tuesday’s outing with the Winnipeg Jets, the Bruins will be playing for first place in the Eastern Conference Thursday night against the Lightning. A win of any form would put the two teams even with 106 points with the B’s owning the tiebreaker. The B’s will have a game in hand on the Bolts following Tuesday night.
At the very least, the Black and Gold are one step closer toward securing home ice in the first round. Bruce Cassidy and company can walk away with a nine-point lead on the Leafs — and a game in hand — with two points in Winnipeg.
Again, this will be far from easy for the Black and Gold against a Jets squad that has won five in a row and is also clicking on all cylinders late in the regular season. The likes of Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler and Connor Hellebuyck have sparked the Jets to their best season in franchise history dating back to their days in Atlanta.
Both teams have a good mix of youth and veterans. It would come as no surprise if these two teams meet again in another few months, but that’s a discussion for later.
Gametime: 8 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 47-17-10 (104 points), Jets 46-19-10 (102 points)
Location: MTS Centre
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Ryan Donato-David Krejci-Tommy Wingels
Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-Brian Gionta
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Nick Holden-Adam McQuaid
Jets projected lines
Kyle Connor-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers-Paul Stastny-Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perrault-Andrew Copp-Bryan Little
Brandon Tanev-Adam Lowry-Joel Armia
Josh Morrisey-Tyler Myers
Tobias Enstrom-Dustin Byfuglien
Ben Chariot-Joe Morrow
– Whether it’s his recent knee laceration to his bout with diverticulitis earlier in the year, David Backes has been through his share of adversity. Backes has toughed it out and is a deserving nominee for this year’s Masterton Award — an award given to the player who best exemplifies qualities of perseverance, dedication and sportsmanship to the game as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
“David Backes has long had a reputation as one of the toughest competitors across the NHL, but returning to game action less than a month after having 10 inches of his colon surgically removed really takes toughness and dedication to another level,” NBC Sports Bruins insider and PHWA Boston Chapter Chairman Joe Haggerty said. “Perseverance, dedication and good sportsmanship are words that have long been associated with Backes during his standout 12-year NHL career, and make us very proud to announce him as the Boston chapter’s nominee for the 2018 Masterton Trophy.”
– Backes is also a step closer toward returning. The 12-year veteran took the ice following the team’s morning skate. He isn’t the only Bruin that is on the cusp of rejoining his teammates either, as Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy have resumed skating activities back in Boston. Cassidy said that he hopes to have his top defensive pair available for Thursday’s game against Tampa according to Kevin Paul Dupont.
– Tuesday marks Boston’s final regular-season matchup against the Western Conference. They’ll return home with a seven-game stretch that includes three matchups with the Panthers (two at home, one on the road), a pair with the Lightning (home and home), a road contest with the Flyers and a tilt with the lowly Senators (at home).