The injury prone Boston Bruins (24-7-9, 57 points) conclude the 2019 calendar year and decade this afternoon in Newark when they visit the New Jersey Devils (13-19-6, 32 points). It is the third and final meeting of the season between the teams, who met in Boston in October and in Newark in November. The Bruins won both games in convincing fashion, including a 5-1 drubbing of the Devils on November 19th.
Puck drop is at 1:00 pm on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Banged Up B’s
The Bruins are dealing with an insane amount of injuries heading into the decade’s finale. The club is without defensemen Torey Krug (upper-body), Charlie McAvoy (lower-body) and Connor Clifton (upper-body). Krug and McAvoy are currently on injured reserve, while Clifton is listed as day-to-day.
Up front, the Bruins got bad news on Monday as David Krejci and Brad Marchand did not practice at Warrior Ice Arena. Marchand will play today, but Krejci did not travel and will miss this afternoon’s game.
The good news? Krug returned to practice on Monday, indicating he might be close to a return.
“I feel good,” Krug told the club’s official website. “Obviously, anytime you get to be back on the ice with your teammates and back in a full practice, full contact, everything, you get excited and it gets you pumped up for the next possibility to come. Definitely feel good.”
Krug is eligible to come off the IR for today’s game, but the Bruins aren’t taking chances with him. The club next plays Columbus on Thursday before battling Edmonton on Saturday.
“We’re erring on the side of caution a little bit here as well,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’s very close, but would the extra couple days help him? We have to discuss that internally.”
Lauzon Returns To Boston
Jeremy Lauzon played 16 games last season for the Bruins, but started this year in the AHL with Providence. Due to the injuries to Krug, McAvoy and Clifton, Lauzon has been summoned to Boston as an injury replacement. He’s expected in the lineup this afternoon, making his season debut.
“Really excited,” said Lauzon. “I think since the beginning of the year my game has been strong. I feel really good and I’ve been waiting for that call since the beginning of the year, so it’s nice to be back up here…I’ve been here, so I know what to expect. Just playing my game, playing my strengths and keep my game simple.”
Lauzon was the Bruins second round choice in the 2015 NHL Draft, going 52nd overall.
“Hard game,” Bruce Cassidy said when asked about what Lauzon brings. “We’re not going to ask him to go on the power play or anything like that. He’s much more of a killer or a shutdown guy. We’ve seen him do that last year at the start of the year – I think it was Dallas or Arizona – did a great job.
“It’s just, can he manage the puck night in, night out, and grow his game in that area? We know he likes to get up the ice, he has a good shot. He’s willing to get involved, it’s getting back on pucks and making the right decision. So that’s his challenge and we’ll see where he’s at.”
David Pastrnak was named the Atlantic Division captain for the upcoming All-Star Game in St. Louis over a week ago. On Monday, he got word that he’ll have a little company in the mid-west. Tuukka Rask has been named to the Atlantic Division All-Star team.
Rask was one of 37 All-Star players selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department, joining three of the four division captains elected by fans via the 2020 NHL All-Star Fan Vote. The Last Man In Votes allows one player from each team to join a pool of 31 players from which fans can select four (one from each division) to join their respective All-Star rosters.
This will be the second All-Star game for Rask who was selected for the 2017 game. The Bruins netminder is 15-4-5 on the year, with a GAA of 2.31 and a save percentage of .923.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen
Jake DeBrusk – Par Lindholm – David Backes
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
Jeremy Lauzon – Matt Grzelcyk
John Moore – Steven Kampfer
Bruins lines are subject to change. David Backes is expected to return to the lineup in place of Brett Ritchie, while Lindholm takes the spot of Krejci this afternoon. Lauzon makes his season debut on defense, while Cassidy confirmed that Halak will in fact get the start for the Bruins.
New Jersey Devils Lines
Jesper Bratt – Nico Hischier – Kyle Palmieri
Blake Coleman – Travis Zajac – Nikita Gusev
Miles Wood – Jack Hughes – Wayne Simmonds
Jesper Boqvist – Pavel Zacha – John Hayden
Andy Greene – P.K. Subban
Will Butcher – Sami Vatanen
Mirco Mueller – Damon Severson