The Boston Bruins (16-3-5, 37 points) finish off a brief two-game road trip tonight in Canada’s capitol as they visit the Ottawa Senators (11-12-1, 23 points). It is the second meeting of the season between the sides, who met at TD Garden on November 2nd. The Bruins won that game by a final score of 5-2 thanks to a big third period.
The two teams will meet again on December 9th in Ottawa, then finish the season series March 26th at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for 7:00 pm on NESN.
Bruins Ink Coyle, Wagner
Prior to tonight’s matchup, the Bruins inked veteran forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to contract extensions. Coyle’s deal is a six-year contract that will run through the 2025-26 season. It carries a $5.25 million cap hit. Wagner, meanwhile, inked a three-year extension that carries through the 2022-23 season with a cap hit of $1.35 million.
Coyle was acquired via trade from the Minnesota Wild last February. The Boston University product and East Weymouth native had nine goals and seven assists in 24 games during the club’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last June. So far this season, Coyle has 14 points (5 g, 9 a) in 24 games.
Wagner, who won the 7th Player Award a season ago, scored a career-high 12 goals in his first season with the Bruins. Signed as a free agent on July 1st, 2018, Wagner has provided the Bruins with physical, responsible play in their bottom six to go along with secondary scoring.
Both have helped stabilize different lines for the Bruins.
David Pastrnak had his second hat trick of the season last night in the club’s 8-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Pastrnak is currently the league leader in goals and sits inside the top five when it comes to points as well.
“He’s just showing up to play every night. He shoots when he’s supposed too. He’s still making plays, he’s not cheating,” Bruce Cassidy told the team’s official website. “He’s not scoring goals just by avoiding defensive responsibilities. I think he’s playing the right way while he’s doing it.”
How is he doing it? Cassidy had some ideas, pointing out specific areas where Pastrnak has improved since making it to the NHL full-time. “He’s learned to get inside a little better than in the past,” Cassidy explained. “That’s probably due to his physical maturity. He’s been through a couple playoff rounds, he knows how important that is.”
Cassidy also alluded to a shot that is unmatched by most in the league. “His one-timer has been rock solid from day one. So the powerplay is a threat every time he goes over the boards. Like we just talked about, the other goals, he was trying to get inside, attack the net.”
Senators Without Their Workhorse
Craig Anderson has been the guy for the Ottawa Senators in goal over the last few seasons. He won’t get the call tonight. Instead, DJ Smith will turn to Anders Nilsson to try and collect a pair of points against the Bruins. Anderson won’t even backup. The veteran won’t dress after suffering a minor injury on Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“It’s more precautionary,” DJ Smith said. “It was just a light tweak that didn’t bother him while he was warm but then as he cooled down after the game it bothered a little more so don’t expect this to be long-term. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Marcus Hogberg has been recalled from the AHL to serve as the backup to Nilsson.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Jack Studnicka – Charlie Coyle
Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
Rask gets the nod tonight after Jaroslav Halak got the start in Montreal. David Backes (upper-body), Zach Senyshyn (lower-body) and Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture) all remain out. The Bruins lines remain the same as last night.
Ottawa Senators Lines
Brady Tkachuk – Logan Brown – Anthony Duclair
Nick Paul – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Connor Brown
Tyler Ennis – Chris Tierney – Colin White
Filip Chlapik – J.C. Beaudin – Max Veronneau
Thomas Chabot – Ron Hainsey
Mark Borowiecki – Nikita Zaitsev
Erik Brannstrom – Dylan DeMelo