The Bruins are at home today, playing the Carolina Hurricanes for the 1st time this season.
After 28 games, the Bruins are at 20-3-5, which is good for 1st place in the Atlantic, and tying the Capitals for the league lead with 45 standings points.
The Bruins have the 2nd most effective power play in the league, scoring 31.6% of the time. They also have the lowest goals against rate at 2.26 GAA. Top goal-scorer David Pastrnak leads the league with 25 goals in 28 games played, and Brad Marchand has the highest +/- at +19.
When last we left our heroes, they were facing the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes tried to rock them with physical play, and did manage to bait David Pastrnak, but strong goaltending from Jaro Halak in his 500th career game kept them off the scoreboard. The Bruins would drop a few late goals on them for the win.
What will be the lineup tonight?
Still a little bit alien.
Patrice Bergeron is skating at practice, but is still out with his lower body injury. Brett Ritchie is back from his ongoing infection, trading 4th line shifts in practice with David Backes.
In the absence of Bergy, Bruce has tried to mix up the top 6, generating two top-6 lines that have good centerman play and good wings.
The other injuries are improving slowly – Defensemen Kevan Miller is still not ready for his season debuts, but John Moore is expected to return tonight, replacing Connor Clifton. Forward Karson Kuhlman is still dealing with his fractured arm.
Tuukka Rask will be in goal tonight.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|#40 Tuukka Rask||(#41 Jaroslav Halak)|
The Bruins haven’t seen the Blackhawks since February of last season, where they were playing at 23-24-9, putting them near the bottom of their conference, with a really poor goal differential of -21. They are faring a little better this season, starting off at a similarly dismal 10-12-5, which puts them 7th – aka last – in the Central division.
Goaltender Corey Crawford suffered a concussion last December and has just begun practicing in February. The ‘Hawks picked up Robin Lehner from the Isles in the offseason. He’s running at a save % of .929, which has him ahead of “Crow”. Backup goalie Collin Delia got a 3 year $1M contract extension last season, yet is not on the roster today. Lehner has just returned from illness. Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) is a game-time decision with flu symptoms. Centerman Dylan Strome and wing Drake Caggiula have been out with a concussion symptoms – Strome is expected to play tonight. Other injuries include Duncan Keith, who is suffering from a lower body injury and may end up on LTIR, and Andrew Shaw, who missed Monday’s (Dec 2) game with an undisclosed injury.
Noteable offseason acquisitions include defensemen Olli Maatta, formerly of the Penguins, and Calvin de Haan, formerly of the ‘Canes.(h/t Daily Faceoff and NBC Sports’ Blackhawks guy Charlie Roumeliotis):
#20 Brandon Saad — #19 Jonathan Toews — #92 Alex Nylander
#12 Alex DeBrincat — #17 Dylan Strome — #88 Patrick Kane
#57 Anton Wedin — #64 David Kampf — #8 Dominik Kubalik
#22 Ryan Carpenter – #77 Kirby Dach – #15 Zack Smith
#6 Olli Maatta — #5 Connor Murphy
#44 Calvin de Haan — #7 Brent Seabrook
#56 Erik Gustafsson — #68 Slater Koekkoek
#40 Robin Lehner
(#50 Corey Crawford)