After a disastrous Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Boston Bruins (28-10-12, 68 points) return to TD Garden to battle the Vegas Golden Knights (25-19-7, 57 points). It is the second and final meeting this season between the sides. The Bruins scored a 4-3 victory in Vegas on October 8th, their third game of the season.
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm on NESN, ESPN+ and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Lack Of Urgency Hurts Bruins
It looked like the Bruins were going to cruise to a victory on Sunday in Pittsburgh. The club built a 3-0 lead in the first period. Not only that, but the Bruins dominated the entire opening frame against the Penguins. It didn’t matter. The Penguins ripped off four straight goals and collected a 4-3 regulation victory.
“It’s something that we want to correct,” Jake DeBrusk told reporters after the loss. “It’s something that’s been a trademark of this team in years past…we obviously want to address that and close games out. That’s what good teams do, that’s what winning hockey is.”
The Bruins got goals from Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork and David Pastrnak as they jumped out to an early lead. After that, the club appeared to sag. It almost looked like the Bruins thought the game was already won.
“I think it’s just a lack urgency on certain plays,” DeBrusk continued. “It’s not necessarily systematic, it’s just a matter of us executing and making the play that’s in front of us.”
“At the end of the day, it falls on the older group in the room to set the standard and the bar when we get those leads. It’s about the culture we’ve built over the years,” Torey Krug said. “We’ve got to make sure we sustain that level of play throughout. Everyone’s got a voice and everyone’s got a huge role on this team. I think it starts at the top and works its way through the lineup. Everyone has to be a little bit better.”
Both David Krejci and Tuukka Rask took to the ice Monday at Warrior Ice Arena. Rask has been out since January 14th with a concussion and is currently on IR. Krejci, meanwhile, has missed each of the last two games.
“I don’t believe he’d be ready tomorrow,” Bruce Cassidy said regarding Rask. “He’s back on the ice. I have to double check on that. That’s just my guess because of the nature of the injury.”
The Bruins do not play again until January 31st after tonight. If Rask cannot go, he’ll have nine more days to rest and recover from the injury he sustained in Columbus.
The same goes for Krejci, who Cassidy called a game-time decision on Monday.
“Krech will try it tomorrow morning [at pregame skate],” Cassidy said Monday. “Didn’t participate in the physical part of the practice. We definitely had a harder than normal day-before-a-game practice. Him not being able to do that makes it more likely he wouldn’t play.”
Krejci, according to Cassidy after morning skate Tuesday, is still a game-time decision.
Also on the ice Monday? Old friend Kevan Miller. Miller has not played since April with an assortment of injuries, including a knee issue.
“That’s a positive,” Cassidy said. “He was in this morning doing off-ice workouts, so I don’t know if he’s an every second-day guy on the ice. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.“
Miller skated on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. He mostly skated laps and worked in wide circles, but did not work on hard stops and starts.
Changes In Vegas
The honeymoon phase is over in Vegas. After two largely successful seasons to start the franchise, it’s been a bit rockier in 2019-20. The Golden Knights are firmly in the playoff race in the Pacific Division, currently sitting in a Wild Card spot. They shocked the hockey world last week when they fired head coach Gerard Gallant and replaced him with Peter DeBoer.
DeBoer’s tenure started with a victory in Ottawa, but the Golden Knights dropped a shootout decision in Montreal on Saturday night after falling behind 3-0.
“In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary. Our team is capable of more than we have demonstrated this season,” General Manager Kelly McCrimmon said in the club’s official release.
One area that has let the Golden Knights down this season? Goaltending. Marc-Andrew Fleury is sporting a .906 save percentage, while backup Malcolm Subban has an .898 save percentage through 16 appearances this season.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Anders Bjork
Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – Karson Kuhlman
Sean Kuraly – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Jeremy Lauzon
Bruins lines are subject to change. Halak gets the start once again, per Cassidy. Krejci is a game-time decision tonight. If he plays, the lines above are the expected ones for the club. Joakim Nordstrom will be the scratch should Krejci play. Steven Kampfer was assigned to AHL Providence this morning while Jeremy Lauzon was recalled. Lauzon replaces John Moore on defense.
Vegas Golden Knights Lines
Max Pacioretty – Paul Stastny – Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault – Chandler Stephenson – Reilly Smith
Tomas Nosek – Cody Eakin – Alex Tuch
Will Carrier – Nicolas Roy – Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb – Nate Schmidt
Nick Holden – Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague – Deryk Engelland
Golden Knights lines are subject to change. Stastny (face) is expected to play after taking a puck to face on Saturday that knocked a few teeth out and left the center bloodied. Cody Glass (lower-body) and William Karlsson (upper-body) are out at least through the All-Star break.