Game Day Thread: Boston Bruins @ Buffalo Sabres

Now with grit!

Today is the first Bruins game after the Christmas break, and they are hosting the New Jersey Devils.

The last two games we watched were against the Devils and the Hurricanes — two bad teams — and the Bruins lost both. This isn’t a good thing, as these are two of the very worst teams in the conference.
At least we finally got Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Jake DeBrusk back.

Lines?
Well, last game, we saw the “usual” forward lines of Marhcand-Bergeron-Pastrnak and Heinen-Krejci-Debrusk, new classic line Donato-Cave-Backes and trusty leftovers Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner, with Nordy & Heinen swapping places on at least one set of shifts. However there are two new complications – First, Brad Marchand has an upper body injury, and missed practice on Friaday. He is expected to travel to Buffalo, but is unlikely to play. Second – David backes made a high hit on the Devils’ Blake Coleman, and even though it was penalized at the time, he was been flagged for supplemental discipline


As you can see, Backes tags Coleman’s head with his shoulder. Coleman is low, but Backes could probably have avoided the hit. I could easily see this going either way. Dept of Player Safety explanation seemed rather perfunctory, and ignores the fact that Coleman’s head is moving lower as he fires off a pass. Regardless, the normal punishment for this sort of thing would be one game, but Backes got 3 games because he’s a “repeat offender”, which will cause him to miss the Winter Classic.
Let’s examine this history for a moment…

Remember? remember… remember…


In March, Backes made a late hit on Franz Nielson, and got penalized, then suspended for 3 games by DOPS. At the time he had no previous history of suspensions or fines.


As you can see, the hit is clearly late, but Nielsen’s head is obviously not the main point of contact, and DOPS notes that Backes pulled up. This was a controversial suspension at the time – possibly a reaction to Nielsen getting knocked loopy and being unable to return to the game. Unfortunately it got an oddly controversial player “into the system”.
With Backes suspended, we expect Anders Bjork to be called up, though Bjork would likely come in as a left wing while Backes has been playing on the right side. However, as of this morning, Bjork has not been called up, leaving Jakub Forsbacka-Karlsson as the last available forward. I think we can expect the bottom-six forward lineups to rotate throughout the game with Acciari, Kuraly or Nordstom breaking up the all-kids 3rd line.
Also missing will be defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who is nursing a lower body injury (and reportedly was in a walking boot). He is traveling to Buffalo, but did not participate in Friday practices and will not play in today’s game.

Bruins Forward Lines
Danton Heinen

Danton Heinen

Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron

David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

Riley Nash

Joakim Nordstrom

David Krejci

David Krejci

Jake DeBrusk

Jake DeBrusk

Ryan Donato

Colby Cave, man

Colby Cave, man

Noel Acciari

Noel Acciari

Sean Kuraly

Player Front Away

#23 Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson

Paul Postma

Chris Wagner

Bruins Defensive pairs
Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara

Brandon Carlo

Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug

Torey Krug

John Moore

John Moore

Matt Grzelcyk

Matt Grzelcyk

Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

Bruins Goaltending
#40 Tuukka Rask (#41 Jaroslav Halak)

This evening’s opponent are the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have gone on an impressive win streak since first time these two teams met, leapfrogging the Bruins in the standings. They are now at 21-12-5 for 47 points, or a 3 point lead on the Bs. Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and winger Jason Pominville are both out with recent upper body injuries. Pominville did practice on Friday, but it is not guaranteed that he will play this evening.
(h/t Daily Faceoff):

Sabres Forwards
#53 Jeff Skinner — #9 Jack Eichel — #23 Sam Reinhart
#43 Conor Sheary — #37 Casey Mittelstadt — #21 Kyle Okposo
#72 Tage Thompson — #17 Vladimir Sobotka — #29 Jason Pominville
#71 Evan Rodrigues — #22 Johan Larsson — #28 Zemgus Girgensons
(#81 Remi Elie)

Sabres Defense
#24 Lawrence Pilut — #55 Rasmus Ristolainen
#6 Marco Scandella — #4 Zach Bogosian
#26 Rasmus Dahlin — #19 Jake McCabe

Sabres Goaltending
#40 Carter Hutton
(#35 Linus Ullmark)

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About IntentionallyWidenberg

Position: Power Forward. Occupation: I am the Egg Man. Contrary to popular belief, I am not the Walrus.
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Quaider4ever
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Quaider4ever

Awesome finish!!!

Quaider4ever
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Quaider4ever

Not Krejci about that call.

Quaider4ever
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Quaider4ever

Jake!!!
Not sure the Bruins deserved that PP, but i’ll take it.

Quaider4ever
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Quaider4ever

Bruins could not put the puck in the ocean right now.

Quaider4ever
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Quaider4ever

Yikes! Decline the next penalty, eh?

Quaider4ever
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Quaider4ever

Donato looking good tonight! Acciari, too.

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Wow, I am definitely tired because even though I’m watching the game it did not register in my brain there was a goal. I think I need to curl up with my Gritty pillow and go to bed soon.