The NHL’s annual Hall of Fame game takes place tonight at Scotiabank Arena as the Boston Bruins (11-3-4, 26 points) visit the Toronto Maple Leafs (9-7-4, 22 points) in the third of four meetings on the season between the rivals. This is the Bruins final trip to Toronto of the regular season, with puck drop coming at 7:00 pm on NESN.
The Hall of Fame class, which includes Boston College legend Jerry York, will be inducted into the Hall on Monday night in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame. That will be aired live on NHL Network in the States.
Another Day, Another Injury
It’s at the point where you almost have to laugh when you see another player added to the Boston Bruins injury report. That was the case after Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Florida Panthers when it was revealed that forward Zach Senyshyn would miss at least four weeks with a lower-body injury. To replace the rookie forward, the club recalled Trent Frederic from AHL Providence.
Although Frederic certainly hates to see a teammate and friend get hurt, he knows this is a golden opportunity for him to grab a spot in the lineup. “It was nice today, you get to skate more, open up more,” said Frederic. “I’m excited to get the opportunity here on the wing. I don’t think too many [adjustments will be needed]. The way the system is, the first guy back you’re low anyways…it’s really not that big of an adjustment for me.”
The Bruins also will be without veteran forward David Backes (upper-body), Brett Ritchie (upper-body), Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture) and potentially Jake DeBrusk and Torey Krug. The Bruins truly are the walking wounded at this time.
“Special” Loss For Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are also no stranger to injury on this young season. The Maple Leafs will be without star forward Mitch Marner, who injured his ankle six days ago against the Philadelphia Flyers. The initial prognoses has him missing at least four weeks of action. He was seen Tuesday at practice wearing a walking boot.
Both Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelcyk spoke with our Jimmy Murphy on Thursday about the loss on Marner and what it means for the Leafs.
“He’s such a great player. Just his puck control, the way he just finds that open ice and just turns in the zone and finds late guys coming in, making those plays that you don’t think are there. He’s a special player, he does a lot for them,” Coyle told Murphy. Grzelcyk agreed. “They have a lot of good pieces that can make plays but he’s up there, he’s a special player.”
Marner has been a pain for the Bruins over the years. He blocked a key shot during the Stanley Cup Playoffs a season ago to preserve a Leafs victory and scored the overtime winner last month against the Bruins in Toronto. Luckily for the Bruins, he won’t get a chance to hurt them tonight.
Live And Learn
The Bruins hope to learn from a nightmare on Tuesday night. They led the Florida Panthers 4-0 before eventually collapsing and losing in the shootout. Coyle and Murphy talked about how that horrid third period could actually help the Bruins moving forward.
“It’s hard to win in this league and when you do, sometimes it can mask some other things that are slipping into your game,” Coyle said following practice Thursday. The Bruins have been considered one of the best teams in the entire league all season long, winning 11 games and sitting in first in the Atlantic. Their recent four-game skid has brought some concerns to the forefront, some concerns the club is looking to address immediately.
“We’ve started to address it, but things happen. It’s never a perfect year. I think it’s good to go through some ups and downs – not that you want to, but I think it helps when you overcome that and come together as a team. You’ve got to go through that to get better. That’s what we’re kind of using it as, but we’ve got to get back on track here. It starts with our practice today. We had a good practice out there and that kind of gets our mind right and get ready to go tomorrow against a good team. It’s a good opportunity for us to get back on track.”
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork – David Krejci – Charlie Coyle
Trent Frederic – Par Lindholm – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Urho Vaakanainen – Connor Clifton
The lineup is subject to change and is based on practice lines from Thursday.
Toronto Maple Leafs Lines
Andreas Johnsson – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Zach Hyman – John Tavares – Kasperi Kapanen
Ilya Mikheyev – Jason Spezza – Trevor Moore
Dmytro Timashov – Nick Shore – Frederick Gauthier
Morgan Reilly – Cody Ceci
Jake Muzzin – Tyson Barrie
Travis Dermott – Justin Holl