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Bruins “Fundamentally Strong”, Preview @ Canucks

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The Boston Bruins (39-11-12, 90 points) look to sweep their annual Western Canadian road trip tonight as they visit the Vancouver Canucks (32-22-6, 70 points) at Rogers Arena. The Bruins blanked the Canucks 4-0 earlier this month at TD Garden in Boston. This is the second and final meeting on the season between the sides.

Puck drop is at 10:00 pm on Sportsnet, NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. For Bruins fans in Canada, captain Zdeno Chara will join ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ on ‘After Hours’ postgame.

Bruins Look To Draw On Prior Success

“I thought for us we played a very fundamentally strong game,” Bruce Cassidy said after the club’s victory on February 4th. Charlie Coyle, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman scored in the Bruins win that night over the Canucks. It was truly a team win that everyone contributed to.

“Anytime you get a shutout you know you’ve done something well on the defensive side of the puck and I don’t think it was all Tuukka,” Cassidy continued. “He was solid, don’t get me wrong. I thought we were opportunistic when we had to be. Our power play wasn’t great that night and we still manage to score a goal.”

Rask was forced to only make 25 saves for the shutout victory. Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom made 38 saves in a frustrating loss.

“I thought we were physical when we had to be,” Cassidy admitted. “They were on a road trip so you know you have to take the energy level higher for us. Can’t get outworked in those situations and I thought our start was good. All those things led to a good win for us.”

The Bruins will be hoping for another hard working win against a team desperate for points in the playoff race out west.

Welcome Ondrej Kase

The Bruins completed a big trade on Friday. The club traded David Backes, a 2020 first-round pick and prospect Axel Andersson to Anaheim for forward Ondrej Kase. Kase will join the Bruins in a few days when they return from their road trip.

“It’s great,” said Danton Heinen. “That’s what you want, right? You want a competitive group and we know we have a bunch of guys, anybody can step in at any point and play and that’s what you want. It’s great to have another guy in the mix and it’ll be great to have him.”

Kase has just seven goals this season in 49 games played, but he did score 20 goals for the Ducks during the 2017-18 season. That remains his career-high to this point.

Kase spoke to the Boston media on Saturday afternoon via conference call. He confirmed during that call that he will wear number 28 with the club.

“I’m very excited to be part of the Boston Bruins…I can’t wait for the playoffs,” Kase told reporters. The Czech winger has only played in the postseason twice before. He appeared in nine games for the Ducks during the 2017 playoffs. He also played in all four games of a sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks in 2018.

Fanning The Flames

Just 3:23 into last night’s game, the Bruins found themselves down 3-1 against a hungry Calgary Flames team. It didn’t matter. The Bruins locked things down, scored the next three goals and skated away with a 4-3 win in Southern Alberta.

The Bruins looked wounded early, but they fought back on the strength of a strong final ten minutes of the first period. It was in that time frame where they took over and never looked back against the Flames.

“I think our second half of that first period we had the momentum,” Charlie Coyle said. “We tied it up. Came back. That’s what it takes. That’s what good teams do. They jump out like that. We just calmed down. You don’t panic. You go right back out that next shift and that next line does something good.”

The Flames, on the other end of Friday’s comeback, where stunned when all was said and done. Their leadership group was not happy about it postgame. That includes super-pest Matthew Tkachuk.

“It was 3-1 with, what, 55 minutes left in the game, so it’s basically a whole game there,” Tkachuk said. “You can’t take it for granted, that lead, even though it was nice to get off to a good start. Then they got three unanswered goals.”

Boston Bruins Lines

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman
Anders Bjork – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Jeremy Lauzon

Tuukka Rask

Bruins lines against the Canucks are subject to change. Rask is expected to get the start after Jaroslav Halak collected the win in Calgary last night. Anton Blidh and Par Lindholm will be the scratches tonight, as coach Cassidy confirmed the forward group will remain the same. John Moore could draw into the lineup, as Cassidy admitted Lauzon is a game-time decision after blocking a shot last night.

Vancouver Canucks Lines

J.T. Miller – Elias Pettersson – Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson – Bo Horvat – Loui Eriksson
Antoine Roussel – Adam Gaudette – Jake Virtanen
Tyler Motte – Jay Beagle – Brandon Sutter

Quinn Hughes – Chris Tanev
Alex Edler – Troy Stetcher
Oscar Fantenberg – Tyler Myers

Jacob Markstrom

Canucks lines are subject to change. Jordie Benn and Zach MacEwen are the expected scratches for coach Travis Green. Brock Boeser (ribs) and Josh Leivo (kneecap) are both on IR and likely done for the regular season. Micheal Ferland (concussion) is done for the season. Tyler Graovac (lower-body) also will not play tonight.

Alex is a 2016 graduate of Springfield College who is currently a writer with Boston Hockey Now and The Oilers Rig. Outside of writing, you can find Alex in rinks around New England as the Play-by-Play voice of the USPHL’s Boston Junior Bruins. In addition, he does broadcasting work for Northeastern University, Holy Cross And UMass-Lowell. Reach him on Twitter: @Alex_Thomas14

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