The Boston Bruins (17-3-5, 39 points) return home to take on the New York Rangers (12-9-2, 26 points) in the NHL’s annual Thanksgiving showdown game. The Bruins return home from a successful two-game road trip in Canada where they swept the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The Bruins did so with their lines all switched up thanks to the absences of Patrice Bergeron and Brett Ritchie and will have to do so again today without Bergeron and Ritchie.
In other lineup news, Jack Studnicka will draw in for Brendan Gaunce and Connor Clifton takes Steven Kampfer’s spot on the blue line. Jaro Halak starts in net.
This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season. The Bruins clobbered the Rangers 7-4 at Madison Square Garden on October 27th. The sides will finish the season series on February 16th in New York.
Puck drop is set for 1:00 pm on NBC.
Coyle, Wagner Locked In
Just hours before the Bruins beat the Senators on Wednesday, the club announced new contracts for Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner. The local products signed multi-year deals, with Coyle agreeing to a six-year contract and Wagner a three-year deal.
“They’re so ingrained in the community of Boston,” Sweeney said Wednesday about his two veterans. “They’re hometown guys. They clearly want to be here. They understand the pressures of playing for the Bruins, and they’re really good teammates. On and off the ice, these guys walk the walk.”
Coyle, acquired last February from the Minnesota Wild, has especially proven helpful. He was terrific for the Bruins in their run to the Final last year. This season, he’s been tasked with jobs both down the middle and on the wing.
“You know I feel comfortable really putting him anywhere,” Bruce Cassidy told reporters just recently. “He has the size to be a presence on both the wing and in the middle and his ability to get into those dirty areas is something we know we can depend on.”
The Bruins claimed two points on Wednesday night, but it wasn’t pretty. The Senators claimed a 1-0 lead, but the Bruins were able to fight back and take a 2-1 decision in regulation time. They were outplayed for long stretches, but Tuukka Rask held fort and gave his team a puncher’s chance in the third period.
“We weren’t sharp early on,” said Cassidy. “Back-to-back games, we’ve been fine over the years. But today for whatever reason, we weren’t clean with the puck early on. They bottled up the neutral zone – something we’ve seen of teams in the past here in Ottawa.”
The Bruins were coming off of a dominant 8-1 victory over the rival Canadiens just one night earlier. They made it look easy on Tuesday. On Wednesday? It took everyone to collect two points. “It took us a while to sort of get to our game where we could get through there and establish a little something. Eventually we got there, and it took everybody. We found a way to win.”
Zdeno Chara, not known for his offensive prowess anymore, scored the goal that put the Bruins up for good against his former team. “We made a strong play and then obviously a very simple play similar to one that happened in the first period. This one I decided to shoot and it was nice to get that go-ahead goal.”
The Bruins will debut their new third jersey this afternoon. The club officially revealed them last Sunday at an event at the World Trade Center, and will break them out for the first time today. The Bruins continued with a recent NHL trend, primarily black uniforms. This one is a dark version of last year’s Winter Classic jersey.
It is the second black-based third jersey in a row. The Bruins previously wore a black third with the traditional logo on the shoulder, and the current shoulder patch as the main crest. That uniform was retired following the 2016-17 season.
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
Bruins lines are subject to change and based off of Wednesday’s lines. The Bruins did not practice yesterday. As a result, there was no update on the status of Bergeron or Ritchie. David Backes (upper-body), Zach Senyshyn (lower-body) and Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture) all remain out.
New York Rangers Lines
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin – Filip Chytil – Ryan Strome
Brendan Lemieux – Brett Howden – Kaapo Kakko
Jesper Fast – Boo Nieves – Brendan Smith
Brady Skjei – Jacob Trouba
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
Libor Hajek – Anthony DeAngelo
Harvard product Adam Fox plays his first NHL game back in Boston this afternoon. He will be paired with former Bruins prospect Ryan Lindgren, who was sent to the Rangers as part of the Rick Nash trade. Kaapo Kakko, the second overall pick in June’s draft, makes his first trip to Boston.