The Bruins are back home, hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets
After 41 games, the Bruins are at 24-7-10, which is good for 1st place in the Atlantic, and 3rd in the league behind the Capitals and the Blues. They are also 3rd in points percentage, behind the Caps & Blues.
Last time, on Bruins hockey…
The Bruins were in New Jersey, facing the Devils. They would come out to a 2-0 lead, but they started passing pucks into nowhere and weren’t moving their feet so well. They would let this lousy team hang around too long, tie up the game in the 3rd period, and they would lose in the shootout.
What will be the lineup today?
A little bit alien.
There’s a few things happening here.
Charle McAvoy and Torey Krug have both been on IR and David Krejci was nursing a lower body injury. Krug & Krejci will return tonight. McAvoy is a game time decision. Connor Clifton picked up an upper body injury vs the Sabres, and will not play today.
Backup Steven Kampfer was sent down to the AHL after Friday’s game and has been brought back up, which should burn off 1 game of a 2 game AHL suspension. He will play tonight, as will Jeremy Lauzon who has been called up on emergency basis.
If McAvoy plays, the traditional 3 pairings will be restored.
Injured defensemen Kevan Miller (fractured kneecap) is still not close to being ready for his season debut. Forward Karson Kuhlman (of fractured tibia fame) skated at practice on Monday and has been sent to the Providence Bruins for a conditioning stint before returning to Boston’s lineup.
Anton Blidh (recovering from shoulder surgery) has begun skating before practice but not during practice. He wilkl probably go to Providence as well.
Tuukka Rask will be in goal tonight.
LATE UPDATE: Charlie McAvoy is back in the top D-pairing.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|#40 Tuukka Rask||(#41 Jaroslav Halak)|
The Bruins have not seen the Blue Jackets since the playoffs last year, where the Bruins won in 6 games. Since that time, Adam McQuaid, star players Artemi Panarin & Sergei Bobrovsky and late season rentals Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel left in free agency. They brought in former Shark & Red Wing Gustav Nyquist, and former Hurricane Nathan Gerbe.
However, with all that, the Blue Jackets roster is a hospital ward right now.
Josh Anderson (Upper body), Cam Atkinson (Lower Body), Oliver Bjorkstrand (Rib), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Markus Nutivaara (Upper body), Ryan Murray (Upper body), Andrew Peeke (Upper body), Alexandre Texier (Upper body), and Emil Bemstrom (Upper Body) are on the injured reserve list.
Scott Harrington missed Friday’s (Dec 27) game due to illness, and Joonas Korpisalo is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus.
Sonny Milano will return from injury tonight.
They have not taken the league by storm so far – with a “meh” record of 18-14-8 (44 points), they are 6th in the Metro division. However, don’t write them off – they are 4-0-2 in their last 6 games. Torts has just had another glorious rant this week, complaining about the sequence of events that resulted in Korpisalo’s injury & an OT loss and the sloppy officiating. Naturally, the league fined him $20K and put him on double not-so-secret probation for the next year with another potential $25K fine in play. Netminder Elvis Merzlikins is now their primary goaltender, and got his first win on New Year’s eve.
(h/t CBJ reporter Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider)
Blue Jackets Forwards
#14 Gustav Nyquist — #38 Boone Jenner — #71 Nick Foligno
#11 Kevin Stenlund — #18 Pierre-Luc Dubois — #24 Nathan Gerbe
#22 Sonny Milano — #10 Alexander Wennberg — #50 Eric Robinson
#49 Ryan MacInnis — #20 Riley Nash — #15 Jakob Lilja
Blue Jackets Defense
#8 Zach Werenski — #3 Seth Jones
#44 Vladislav Gavrikov — #58 David Savard
#46 Dean Kukan — #4 Scott Harrington
Blue Jackets Goaltending
#90 Elvis Merzlikins
(#80 Matiss Kivlenieks)