Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Islanders
Following a narrow 4-2 defeat in Toronto on Monday, the Boston Bruins will look to bounce back and return to the win column on Rick Middleton night, as they welcome the New York Islanders to TD Garden.
The Bruins hold a 87-54-21-4 series edge over the Islanders and have won nine of the last 11 meetings, including four straight leading up to Thursday’s matchup. This by no means will be an easy matchup for the injury-plagued Bruins even with their recent history against the Isles.
Patrice Bergeron’s absence has slowed down the offense, as the Bruins have scored a mere 11 goals in their last six games, yet, they’re 3-1-2 over that span. Even David Pastrnak — tied for the league lead in goals — felt residual effects of playing without the four-time Selke winner before snapping his five-game dry spell with a pair of tallies against the Maple Leafs.
The injuries keep on mounting as the Bruins will be without Kevan Miller (larynx) for the next five weeks. But there’s some good news on the injury front, which we’ll share in the storylines.
Gametime: Middleton ceremony 6:30 p.m.; puck drop 8:08 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 13-7-4 (30 points), Islanders 12-9-2 (26 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins Projected Lines
Brad Marchand-Colby Cave-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-David Krejci-Jake DeBrusk
Ryan Donato-Joakim Nordstrom-Noel Acciari
Chris Wagner-Sean Kuraly-David Backes
Torey Krug-Connor Clifton
John Moore-Steven Kampfer
Jeremy Lauzon-Matt Grzelcyk
Islanders Projected Lines
Anthony Beauvillier-Matthew Barzal-Josh Bailey
Anders Lee-Brock Nelson-Jordan Eberle
Tom Kuhnhackl-Valtteri Filppula-Leo Komarov
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy-Johnny Boychuck
Thomas Hickey-Ryan Pulock
Adam Pelech-Scott Mayfield
– Ryan Donato makes his return to the Bruins’ lineup following his eventful stint in Providence. The 22-year-old struggled out of the gates in his first full NHL season — tallying just one goal in eleven appearances — where ice time was hard to come by. Donato became primary focal point down in the AHL and found his scoring touch with an impressive 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 10 games. Donato’s return means that Anders Bjork will be the odd man out on the third line. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who skated with Pastrnak and Brad Marchand for three games, will join Bjork in the healthy scratch deparment. Sean Kuraly, meanwhile, makes his return to the fourth line after watching Monday’s loss from the Scotiabank Arena press box.
– The Bruins received good news on Wednesday with defenseman Brandon Carlo’s return to practice. The 22-year-old hasn’t skated in a game since sustaining an upper-body injury on Nov. 10. Carlo returnted to the ice prior to the team’s morning skate on Thursday. Head coach Bruce Cassidy ruled Carlo out for Thursday, but left the door open for a potential return on Saturday night when the B’s host the Red Wings on Causeway Street.