The Bruins road tour of the Flortheast continues, facing the fancy cats at BB&T Arena in Sunrise, Florida.
The Bruins are now at 42-13-12, putting them 1st in the Atlantic, and 1st in the league, 9 points ahead of the Tampa. And also 6 points ahead of the Blues. They are the 2nd team in the league (along with Tampa) to reach 40 regulation wins.
Last time in Bruins Hockey..
The Bruins were in Tampa, facing the division rival Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bruins entered the game playing fast, like they were shot from a cannon, and the arena was loud, contributing to a playoff-like atmosphere.
Brad Marchand’s foot scored first, followed by a Lightning puck in the net that was called back after a rare (and successful) offside challenge from the Bruins.
Halfway through the 2nd period, Jake DeBrusk would score a 2nd Bruins goal from a Charlie Coyle feed. The Lightning were showing signs of frustration by this time, but a Mitchel Stephens shot through traffic would slip by Tuukka, putting the Bolts on the scoreboard late in the period.
The game would get a little bit nasty, with Joakim Nordstrom and Yanni Gourde facing off in the wee seconds of the period for a match of punchy-face, bantam-weight class. This would acheive a “Yanni Gourde hat trick” – A penalty, getting a goal called back for being offside, and a fist fight.
The 3rd period was mostly an exercise in the Bruins losing puck races, getting pinned in their own end, and frantically pushing the Lightning players to the outside, and forcing line changes whenever the puck crossed the red line. They would hang on for the victory, 2-1.
What will be the lines today?
Bruce has been kicking around some new lines
Anton Blidh is still with the team.
Brett Ritchie & Steven Kampfer are still in Providence.
Ondřej Kaše and Nick Ritchie appear to be integrated into the lineup. They’ve been on a Ritchie-Krejci-Kaše line since both appeared on the game rosters, and will be on that line today.
Chris Wagner, is day to day with an upper body injury after a tussle with Mattias Janmark. He did not practice on Friday, but did skate with the team today.
Brad Marchand missed practice again on Wednesday due to illness, but is expected to play tonight. IIf he is unable to make it, Jake DeBrusk would move up to Marchy’s spot on the Bergeron line, and Anders Bjork would return to fill in on Coyle’s left wing. Karson Kuhlman is also looking like a healthy scratch.
Injured defensemen Kevan Miller (fractured kneecap) “has no timeline” for his season debut, but has been skating on his own. Connor Clifton is on the roster but still on IR.
Jaroslav Halak will be in net today.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|#41 Jaroslav Halak||#40 Tuukka Rask|
Tonight, the Bruins play the Fancy Cats (a.k.a. the Florida Panthers) for the 3rd time this season. They’re 4th in the division, but a full 5 points behind 3rd place Toronto and 10th in the Eastern Conference, so they are not in much danger of sneaking into a wild card spot. They’ve gone 1-4-1 in their last six games, contributing to their fading prospects.
They traded #21 Vincent Trocheck to Carolina at the deadline, bringing back Lucas Wallmark and Eric Haula in return.
They’ve got 3 guys out with injury – Sergei Bobrovski – who missed a super Tuesday game with a lower body injury, Brian Boyle, who has missed the last month, and Dryden Hunt who is on IR with a lower body injury.
(h/t Daily Faceoff and Jameson Olive):
#11 Jonathan Huberdeau — #16 Aleksander Barkov — #63 Evgenii Dadonov
#72 Frank Vatrano — #56 Erik Haula — #68 Mike Hoffman
#14 Dominic Toninato — #71 Lucas Wallmark — #10 Brett Connolly
#7 Colton Sceviour — #55 Noel Acciari — #13 Mark Pysyk
#19 Michael Matheson — #5 Aaron Ekblad
#61 Riley Stillman — #6 Anton Stralman
#3 Keith Yandle — #2 Josh Brown
#60 Chris Driedger
(#33 Samuel Montembeault)