Tonight, the Bruins are at home, hosting the Nashville Predators.
After 36 games, the Bruins are at 21-7-8, which is good for 1st place in the Atlantic, and 2nd in the league behind the Capitals. They are 3rd in points percentage, behind the Caps & Isles.
When last we left our heroes, they were facing the strangely hot New York Islanders. A defensive game throughout, the Bruins would lose in a shootout, but picking up the consolation point.
What will be the lineup tonight?
Well, you’ve seen these guys before.
Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm are back in the lineup, leaving David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom on the 9th floor eating nachos. Expect Kuraly on the LW and Lindholm at center.
This was broadcast by coach Bruce Cassidy as a performance-related shake-up.
The notable injuries are moving slowly – Defensemen Kevan Miller (fractured kneecap) is still not close to being ready for his season debut, having suffered a setback recently. Forwards Karson Kuhlman and Anton Blidh have begun skating before practice but not during practice. Kuhlman is still dealing with his fractured arm, and is reportedly not close to returning. Blidh is recovering from shoulder surgery.
John Moore & Connor Clifton have been competing for the 6th defenseman spot, with Moore getting most of the starts after his extended absence. Moore is out sick, so Clifton is in.
Jaroslav Halak will be in goal tonight.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|#41 Jaroslav Halak||(#40 Tuukka Rask)|
As it was a year ago, today we get to see the Preds in our barn. But unlike last year, the Predators have not been one of the best teams in the league all year. Their record is 16-12-6 (38 points), placing them 6th in the central division. They’ve been good at scoring goals this season, but average at keeping them out of their own net. Their PP & PK are both subpar.
A significant difference since last season has been the goaltending of Pekka Rinne – while he was excellent last season, he’s not been that guy this season with a sub-.900 save percentage. Yet he leads the league with 3 shutouts. Note that Kevin Fiala was traded to Minnesota at the last year’s trade deadline for Mikael Granlund. Likewise, Ryan Hartman was shipped out at the trade deadline for a loaner. Fan favorite Zac Rinaldo is no longer with Nashville, ending up in Calgary (Yes, Rinaldo is somehow still in the NHL)
Injured players Viktor Arvidsson & Mikael Granlund are both likely to return today.
(h/t Daily Faceoff):
#19 Calle Jarnkrok — #92 Ryan Johansen — #33 Viktor Arvidsson
#23 Rocco Grimaldi — #95 Matt Duchene — #64 Mikael Granlund
#42 Colin Blackwell — #8 Kyle Turris — #15 Craig Smith
#9 Filip Forsberg — #13 Nick Bonino — #10 Colton Sissons
#59 Roman Josi — #4 Ryan Ellis
#14 Mattias Ekholm — #57 Dante Fabbro
#5 Dan Hamhuis — #52 Matt Irwin
#35 Pekka Rinne
(#74 Juuse Saros)