The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak has been dubbed the ‘Perfection Line’ by Boston Bruins fans and observers. Tonight, they will meet one of the only lines in the league that might actually have an edge of them. The Bruins visit Denver to battle the Colorado Avalanche and their lethal top line. It is the first of two meetings between the teams this season, and the only one in Denver.
This game has all the makings of a track meet. The Avalanche are built on speed and skill, while the Bruins have a healthy dose of both qualities up and down the lineup. Both teams have some terrific puck moving defensemen on their blue line, headlined by Torey Krug and Cale Makar.
The Avalanche also look vastly different from a season ago. Makar is in the lineup, while Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot and Carl Soderberg were all traded. Old friend Nazem Kadri now patrols the middle of the ice for the Avalanche. They also added Joonas Donskoi and Andre Burakovsky in what was a busy summer for GM Joe Sakic.
These Avalanche are a handful. The Bruins dealt with a tough environment on Tuesday in Vegas. Tonight will not be much easier. In addition to dealing with the typical challenges of playing in Denver, the altitude, the Bruins will face a team with serious aspirations of challenging for the Stanley Cup. Colorado is deep, fast, skilled and has multiple difference-makers. This is a very good team.
Colorado Avalanche Lines
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Joonas Donskoi – Nazem Kadri – Andre Burakovsky
Matt Nieto – Tyson Jost – Colin Wilson
Matt Calvert – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Valeri Nichushkin
Samuel Girard – Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov – Cale Makar
Mark Barberio – Ryan Graves
The top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen may just be the best trio in the league. MacKinnon is a potential Hart Trophy candidate, while Landeskog and Rantanen both possess power forward elements. Rantanen has established himself as an elite sniper, while Landeskog is the two-way conscience of the line.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – David Backes
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
The Bruins ‘Perfection Line’ erupted against Vegas on Tuesday. They were one of the best lines in the entire NHL last season. If they finally have their legs underneath them, this game could be one of the most entertaining of the season. “Nice to score a few more goals, we did a good job,” Marchand told reporters after Tuesday’s win in Vegas. He scored a pair in the victory, which pushed the Bruins to 3-0-0 for the first time since 2001-02.
Forward Joakim Nordstrom will also make his season debut in Denver Thursday after missing the first three games of the season thanks to a foot injury suffered in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final last June. Nordstrom will be reunited with his normal linemates Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner. Nordstrom knows it may take a bit to get his timing back but he’s ready to go.
“I think just getting your timing back, all the situations in tight,” Nordstrom told reporters after the morning skate in Denver Thursday. “Hopefully not, but might take some time to get back to where I was. But conditioning, I feel great. I think just play easy, simple, hard and stick to a good, detailed game.”
Jaroslav Halak will get the nod in net tonight. Halak is 1-0-0 on the season after his shutout performance on Saturday over Arizona. Tuukka Rask left Tuesday’s game in considerable pain, but there is no reason to read deeper into Halak starting. “He either had a little bit of a muscle pull or some dehydration or both. I don’t think there’s anything structurally wrong,” Bruce Cassidy said after the game.
Rask later confirmed that he was suffering from cramps. Puck drop is 9:00 pm on NESN.