Before embarking on a three-game set where they would play the Tampa Bay Lightning last Thursday and then the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday night and then back in Boston tonight, the Boston Bruins said this three-game stretch was a “measuring stick”. So far, the reigning Eastern Conference Champions have failed to get a win against either team. The Bruins do have two points in the bank, but are 0-0-2 so far. Tonight, after losing to them 4-3 in overtime Saturday, the Bruins (5-1-2) will host the Leafs (5-3-2) in a rematch as they try to snap their first winless streak of the season and truly determine where they measure up against their stiffest Atlantic Division competition.
Banged Up Bruins
For the third consecutive game, the Boston Bruins will be without forward David Krejci. The veteran center continues to deal with an upper-body injury and did not skate on Monday.
“Krejci won’t play [on Tuesday] and we’ll see how it works out for later in the week,” Bruce Cassidy told the media on Monday.
Krejci was injured in the 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks October 14, and has not played since. Charlie Coyle will continue to take his spot on the second line.
For a second consecutive game and for the fifth time this season, forward Joakim Nordstrom (foot) will be out of the lineup.
Karson Kuhlman – who blocked a Jake DeBrusk shot in Saturday’s loss and did not practice Monday or skate Tuesday morning – will miss his first game of the season.
Bjork Called up
Thanks to the rash of injuries and a fast start to the season in Providence (AHL), forward Anders Bjork has gotten the call back to the show and the 23-year-old winger couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in Boston.
“Really exciting, grateful for this opportunity and I want to make the most of it,” Bjork said following the game day skate Tuesday morning. “Working hard trying to improve my game, trying to be a complete player.”
Bjork – who had three goals and five assists in seven games with the P-Bruins – will skate on the left wing of the fourth line with Sean Kuraly at center and Chris Wagner on the right.
It’s hard to believe, but Tuukka Rask will play in his 500th NHL game tonight.
“It goes by so quickly, you reach a milestone and you start looking back. Just grateful that I’ve been part of this team for so long,” Rask said after practice on Monday.
Acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for goaltender Andrew Raycroft, Rask has been a mainstay since the 2013 season. Over 499 NHL games, Rask has started 478 contests with a 268-150-59 record. Rask has posted a .921 save percentage and a 2.27 goals against average in that span, adding 46 career shutouts.
“He’s such a great teammate on and off the ice. He’s such a big reason we’ve been as good as we have,” Brad Marchand told reporters when asked about Rask’s achievement on Monday.
Rask is the all-time leader in games played by a goaltender in club history, and will be the first to hit the 500 mark. Tiny Thompson (468) is the only other goaltender to play at least 450 games with the club.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie
Danton Heinen – Par Lindholm – David Backes
Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – Anders Bjork
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
Looking For Answers
The Maple Leafs collected a point on Monday night, but fell 4-3 in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Maple Leafs jumped out to a lead, but sagged for the second straight game and found themselves in overtime.
“We’ve got to find a way to come out and put together a full 60 of hard work and playing the right way,” veteran Jake Muzzin told reporters after the loss.
With expectations sky-high in Toronto, the Leafs 5-3-2 start has some fans and media antsy. A victory at TD Garden, a traditional house of horrors for the Leafs, would calm a lot of people down.
Toronto Maple Leafs Lines
Andreas Johnsson – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev – Alexander Kerfoot – Mitch Marner
Trevor Moore – Jason Spezza – Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov – Nick Shore – Frederick Gauthier
Morgan Rielly – Cody Ceci
Jake Muzzin – Tyson Barrie
Martin Marincin – Justin Holl
The Leafs are still without captain John Tavares, who is dealing with a broken finger suffered last week. Zach Hyman (ACL) and Travis Dermott are also injured and will not play tonight.