Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Coyotes
The Bruins were barely hanging on to a playoff spot following their disastrous Florida trip last week. But they’ve righted the ship after an impressive 6-3 victory over Toronto and a 2-1 overtime win in Ottawa over the weekend.
Bruce Cassidy’s squad gets a breather from Atlantic Division play Tuesday as they welcome an improved, but still struggling Coyotes squad that’s 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.
The Bruins will trot out the same lineup from their weekend slate against the Maple Leafs and Senators. This means that Jake DeBrusk will miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury. The second-year forward will visit team specialists on Tuesday for further evaluation according to Cassidy.
The schedule won’t get any easier for the injury-plagued Bruins after Tuesday. They’ll have two sets of three-games-in-four-nights against quality opponents, including the Penguins, Sabres, Canadiens and Predators (to name a few) before their Christmas break. The B’s could use a little more momentum before that stretch begins Friday night in Pittsburgh.
Gametime: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 16-10-4 (36 points), Coyotes 13-13-2 (28 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Ryan Donato
Joakim Nordstrom-Colby Cave-David Backes
Gemel Smith-Sean Kuraly-Chris Wagner
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
John Moore-Steven Kampfer
Coyotes projected lines
Lawson Crouse-Nick Schmaltz-Clayton Keller
Alex Galchenyuk-Derek Stepan-Christian Fischer
Richard Panik-Brad Richardson-Nick Cousins
Conor Garland-Mario Kempe-Jason Archibald
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Ilya Lyubushkin
Alex Goligoski-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Jordan Oesterle-Jakob Chychrun
– DeBrusk’s latest setback came at an inopportune time with Charlie McAvoy returning from his first career concussion. But the Bruins survived the last two games without their second-line winger, and their six-goal outing against Toronto marked one of their most impressive feats of the season. All six scorers — sans David Krejci filling in for Patrice Bergeron on the top line — came from secondary scorers, including Danton Heinen, Ryan Donato, David Backes, Torey Krug and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. Only one of their last eight goals came from their shrinking primary outlet when Brad Marchand tied things up in Ottawa with his second-period tally.
– All is not lost on the injury front, however. Both Bergeron (ribs) and team captain Zdeno Chara (knee) are back skating on their own according to Cassidy. The two leaders, who recently donned the Bruins’ Winter Classic practice jerseys on social media, are scheduled for reevaluation sometime this week for their respective ailments.
– Tuukka Rask, fresh off an impressive 28-save outing in Ottawa two nights ago, will make his second straight start for the third time this season. He’s yet to string a solid outing in consecutive starts, however, as he’s allowed seven goals and dropped both games in those occasions — Oct. 17 in Calgary and Dec. 1 at home against Detroit. The Finnish netminder is in mid-season form, however, and is giving his team a chance to win at a time where goals are at a premium. The Coyotes’ offense, which tallied a mere 19 goals in their last 10 games, is also near the bottom of the league. This should bode well for both Rask and Darcy Keumper in Tuesday’s inter-conference matchup.