The Bruins play the 3rd game of their road trip tonight, playing in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers.
Two weeks ago, after their impressive win streak, the Bruins went on an ill-fated three game road trip that resulted in three consecutive losses. But last Saturday, they hosted the Blue Jackets at the TD Garden, and came out with an overtime win that was perhaps not as close as the score would indicate. Then the B’s embarked on the current road trip with beating a lackluster Islanders team soundly in a shutout, following up with a decisive 5-1 win vs the New Jersey Devils. So those 3 losses have (so far) been followed with 3 wins in a row. The only down side was when Sean Kuraly stopped a shot with his hand, and left the game.
Sean Kuraly blocks Santini's slapper and Heinen goes the other way and buries a goal.
Most painful assist of Kuraly's career — who's in rough shape. pic.twitter.com/GT4jOy8e45
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) March 22, 2019
He supposedly returned to the bench, but went back down the tunnel. He was seen after the game wearing neither a bandage nor a brace, but it was announced today that he suffered a fracture in his hand, has had it operated on, and is expected to be out for four weeks. That would result in him missing at least the first round of the playoffs. So that’s a little disappointing…
Anyway, this puts the Bruins at 99 points, putting them in 3rd place league-wide, and are in 2nd place in the Atlantic division, behind Tampa Bay who are a whopping 21 points ahead of them at 120 with 7 & 8 games remaining. 3rd-place Toronto is only 6 points behind.
The Bruins also now have three 30+ goal scorers in Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Marchand is currently the Bruins leading scorer by points, with 90, making him the first Bruin to reach that threshold since Marc Savard did so in 2006-7. Marchand is currently 8th in the league in total points.
Yesterday was a non-working day for the team, as they had their annual visit with the Jacobs family in Florida.
The Jacobs family is hosting the team for an afternoon outing here in Florida.
First stop: The Stables. 🐎 pic.twitter.com/kEN0Sz6fZ3
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 22, 2019
The team spent the day tooling around on off-road bikes, golfing, and touring the Jacobs’ stables.
Bruins finding their own ways of cruising into the playoffs pic.twitter.com/rTGQ8DBs8N
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 22, 2019
What do the lines look like now? Well, they’re getting better.
The Bruins have recently been working through some late season injuries, with David Pastrnak, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, Marcus Johansson and Jake DeBrusk all missing multiple games and Sean Kuraly, & Noel Acciari having each returned from injuries requiring the use of a full face shield, and of course, Kuraly is injured again.
David Pastrnak has returned to play on the Bergeron & Marchand line and will likely do so tonight – there is speculation that he will move to the Krejci line soon, but it isn’t clear that is still necessary if Johansson returns. Charlie Coyle has been playing on David Krejci’s right wing, and Jake DeBrusk on the left. Steven Kampfer and Clifton are in for Grizz & Krug. Trent Frederic, Paul Carey and Connor Clifton were called up to back-fill for DeBrusk (foot), Johansson (lung) & Krug (concussion). Frederic & Carey have now returned to Providence. It is interesting to note that the forward lines for the AHL Bruins affiliate from Friday night look like a list of Bruins depth chart
P-Bruins lines tonight:
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) March 22, 2019
Karson Kuhlman left P-Bruins practice yesterday and was called up on emergency basis.
Matt Grzelcyk (forearm), Marcus Johansson (lung), and Kevan Miller (upper body injury) have not been playing, but were planning to join the team in Florida for practice. Jaroslav Halak is today’s starting goaltender.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|#41 Jaroslav Halak||(#40 Tuukka Rask)|
Tonight’s opponent are the Florida Panthers. They have been a relative non-factor in the standings all year – neither at the bottom of the barrel nor a credible playoff contender. They have a record of 33-29-12 (78 points), which puts them in 6th place in the Atlantic Division. They’ve played a little more competitively of late, going 4-2-0 in their last six games. They’ve only 2 guys formally out with injury – Derek MacKenzie (shoulder) and Denis Malgin (lower body) – but backup goaltender James Reimer has been struggling with a leg injury, giving Sam Montembeault some opportunities to play. Their best scoring forward is young Aleksander Barkov who has 34g/53a (87pts) and a solid faceoff win percentage of 53.8 but negative (yet, recently improving) +/- of -8. They have two 30 goal scorers in Barkov and Huffman, with 34 Genos apiece. (h/t Daily Faceoff and Jameson Olive):
#11 Jonathan Huberdeau — #16 Aleksander Barkov — #63 Evgenii Dadonov
#68 Mike Hoffman — #21 Vincent Trocheck — #8 Jayce Hawryluk
#72 Frank Vatrano — #15 Riley Sheahan — #22 Troy Brouwer
#88 Jamie McGinn — #95 Henrik Borgstrom — #7 Colton Sceviour
#19 Michael Matheson — #5 Aaron Ekblad
#3 Keith Yandle — #52 MacKenzie Weegar
#13 Mark Pysyk — #2 Josh Brown
#33 Samuel Montembeault
(#1 Roberto Luongo)