The Boston Bruins (24-8-11, 59 points) will debut some tweaked lines tonight when they visit the Nashville Predators (19-15-7, 45 points). It is the second and final meeting on the season between the teams, who met on December 21st at TD Garden. The Predators won that game 4-3 in overtime.
Puck drop is at 8:00 pm on NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub and ESPN+.
A Special Trip
The Bruins are taking the time to give back to some of the most important people in their lives tonight. The club embarked on their annual mother’s trip yesterday. The mothers got a chance to take in practice on Monday at Warrior Ice Arena, then flew with the club to Nashville. They’ll get a VIP experience tonight in one of the league’s top road destinations.
“She still texts me before every game and tells me what to do out there,” Marchand told the club’s official website regarding his mom. “She’s a coach behind the scenes too and [she’s] watched a ton of hockey…my dad’s always been a coach and one of my coaches.
“She hears a lot of what he tells me to do. She likes to reiterate that. She’s pretty bang on when she’s sending her message or giving her pointers, but sometimes I have to tell her to settle down and just enjoy it and have fun.”
This is a long way from those 6:00 am practices and games these moms had to endure many years ago.
For Anders Bjork, who will get a promotion up the lineup tonight, this trip is extra special.
“It means a lot,” Bjork said. “Her and my dad are the most influential people in my life – been there through a lot. It’s special for me to have her out here and see my life, especially with how much she’s helped me since my pro career started.
“With the [shoulder] injuries that I had, she came out both years when I had surgery and stayed with me for two weeks or so and dropped everything with her life back home. She’s been a huge influence in my life. I’m glad she can hopefully have some fun and see how things are around here.”
Stop The Streak
The Edmonton Oilers controlled the first forty minutes of play on Saturday on their way to a 4-1 victory over the Bruins at TD Garden. For the Bruins, it was yet another game in which the offense simply couldn’t produce enough. After taking a 1-0 lead on a powerplay tally by David Pastrnak, the club couldn’t solve Mike Smith.
“I don’t think we attacked the net enough. Second period started to shift,” Bruce Cassidy said postgame. “They started transitioning better, getting their defense up the ice. So that was lack of O-zone possession time. I think they have some high-end skill that if you let them skate, let their [defense] join, they’ll start turning the tide, and that’s what they did.”
That assessment likely led to the changes with the Bruins lines yesterday.
Although it was the club’s third straight loss, it was their first game without collecting a point in ten tries. It may be frustrating, but the Bruins know they have enough to succeed in the room.
“I think we’ve got to stick with the game plan, trust what we have in here,” David Krejci told reporters. “The season is long. We knew we were going to go through some rough patches at some point this year and seems like we’re there right now, so we’ve got to keep working at practices and just go back to little details.”
The Bruins will have to work hard tonight against a Predators team that got a massive wake up call on Monday.
John Hynes Named Predators Coach
The Nashville Predators named John Hynes the third coach in franchise history this morning. He replaces Peter Laviolette, the Franklin, Mass native and former Providence Bruins coach.
“John Hynes is bright young coach and great leader who has a track record of both effectively developing young players and successfully motivating veterans,” GM David Poile said in an official release. “We love his coaching resume and are confident that he has learned from every stop during his career, and has the best skill set to get the maximum potential out of our team.”
Hynes is in his second stop as a head coach in the NHL. He led the New Jersey Devils for parts of five seasons, guiding the team to a 150-159-45 record and one Stanley Cup Playoff appearance. Prior to that, he served as the head coach of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Warwick, Rhode Island native is expected to make his debut behind the bench tonight.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk
Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie
Sean Kuraly – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Matt Grzelcyk/Steven Kampfer
Bruins lines are subject to change. Joakim Nordstrom is dealing with the flu and will not play, per Bruce Cassidy. He joins David Backes in the extra forward department for tonight’s tilt. Grzelcyk and Steven Kampfer alternated at practice. Kampfer replaced Grzelcyk in the lineup Saturday due to illness. No determination yet as to who will draw in against the Predators. Rask is the expected starter after Jaroslav Halak got the nod on Saturday afternoon.
Nashville Predators Lines
Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Calle Jarnkrok – Kyle Turris – Mikael Granlund
Rocco Grimaldi – Nick Bonino – Craig Smith
Yakov Trenin – Colin Blackwell – Austin Watson
Roman Josi – Yannick Weber
Jarred Tinordi – Mattias Ekholm
Matt Irwin – Alexandre Carrier
Matt Duchene missed Sunday’s game in Anaheim with an illness, while Dante Fabbro is dealing with an upper-body injury. Ryan Ellis is on IR (upper-body), while Colton Sissons remains on the mend and will not play tonight.