The Boston Bruins (19-3-5, 43 points) look to build on their seven game winning streak tonight when the Carolina Hurricanes (16-10-1, 33 points) visit snowy TD Garden. It is the first of three meetings between the teams this season. They will next meet on March 31st in Raleigh before concluding the series on April 4th. That last meeting is the final game of the regular season for both sides.
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
David Backes returned to the Bruins lineup on Sunday night for the first time in nearly a month. He ended up scoring the game-winner as the Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Backes has been a lightning-rod for Bruins fans since he signed his massive contract in July of 2016. BHN’s Jimmy Murphy argues that it is time to both accept and embrace Backes.
Backes’ teammates have already done that. “He’s a very lovable guy,” Jake DeBrusk told NESN rinkside reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz on Sunday night. “Obviously coming back from an injury’s not easy and especially an injury like that. I know a little bit. …thing or two about that, so to see him get back on the ice and playing and just have him be vocal on the bench, is something that’s underrated. Not a lot of people know that unless you’re inside the room and obviously to see him score, just really happy for him, he deserved it.”
Bruce Cassidy concurred. “We’re happy it worked out tonight. Happy for him.” Backes will skate on the third line tonight, playing right wing.
Bruins Director of Player Development and Player Personnel Coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner was seen at last night’s Los Angeles Kings Vs. Anaheim Ducks contest in Southern California. Both the Kings and Ducks sit below the playoff line, with the Kings in an admitted rebuilding effort.
The Bruins and Kings had been in contact regarding veteran Tyler Toffoli last winter prior to the trade deadline. The Ducks, meanwhile, have been searching for veteran help on defense since Dallas Eakins took over as head coach in the summer. The Bruins will need to clear space prior to Kevan Miller’s return to the lineup. John Moore is also close to a return.
The Bruins do play the Kings at TD Garden two weeks from tonight. They don’t visit California until mid-March.
There’s a Storm Coming
There will be a little added juice inside TD Garden tonight. This is the first meeting between the Hurricanes and Bruins since last May’s Eastern Conference Final. This one means a little more to a Carolina team blown away last spring. “It’s another game, but it’s got a little more juice to it, probably, just based on last year and the fact that they’re the top dogs,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour told the team’s official website.
“It’s a regular-season game we have to win. You look at where they are – they’re the best team in the league. That, to me, is what’s going on this year. Obviously, last year, they were the best team against us, too. It’s going to be a big task, and we know it.”
The Hurricanes are currently the top Wild Card team in the east with 33 points. They have a three point cushion on the Toronto Maple Leafs and have played one less game. They sit two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the third spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen
Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – David Backes
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
Bruins lines are subject to change. They are based off of this morning’s skate at Warrior Ice Arena. Halak will start, per Cassidy. Brett Ritchie and John Moore skated with the main group and were in regular practice jerseys. Moore was recalled from a one game conditioning stint yesterday.
Moore could return to game action on Thursday, per Cassidy. Patrice Bergeron did skate this morning at Warrior, but is not expected to play tonight. There is no timeline for his return. “I’m sure he’ll be on the trip unless he has a setback,” Cassidy told reporters.
Zach Senyshyn (lower-body) and Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture) both remain out and on IR.
Carolina Hurricanes Lines
Brock McGinn – Jordan Staal – Warren Foegele
Andrei Svechnikov – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Ryan Dzingel – Lucas Wallmark – Nino Niederreiter
Trevor Van Riemsdyk – Clark Bishop – Jordan Martinook
Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Joel Edmundson – Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner – Haydn Fleury
Veteran forward Erik Haula and rookie Martin Necas are both currently injured and not available for the Hurricanes tonight.