The Boston Bruins (39-13-12, 90 points) are coming off of a rare home regulation loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. Tonight, the Bruins play host to the Dallas Stars (37-20-6, 80 points) and old friend Tyler Seguin at TD Garden. It is the second and final meeting between the sides this season. The Bruins claimed a 2-1 victory in Dallas on opening night.
Tonight is also the debut for Ondrej Kase, acquired six days ago from the Anaheim Ducks. Kase will skate on a reworked second line with former and now current teammate Nick Ritchie and David Krejci.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm on NBCSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
The Bruins never led on Tuesday night when the desperate Flames came to town and handed them just their third regulation loss at TD Garden this season. Admittedly, the Bruins weren’t much better than they were on Saturday night in Vancouver, another game lost in regulation time.
“We weren’t at our best, for sure,” Brad Marchand said postgame. “We didn’t have it all the way through the game. We were a little sleepy, I guess, at times. Not our normal, upbeat, high-energy game. But that’s going to happen…in an 82-game schedule you’re not going to be perfect. Unfortunately, we didn’t get this one. But there’s lots left.”
Depth Provides Bright Spot
If there is a positive to take out of Tuesday’s loss, its the fact the Bruins depth players stepped up. The fourth line played arguably the best game of the season in the loss. Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner were joined by Par Lindholm against the Flames. Wagner scored a goal to get the game within one in the third period.
“They were our best line in terms of finding pucks and getting it through the neutral zone,” Cassidy proclaimed after the loss. “We had a tough time and some of that’s on our defense. I thought we were pretty stubborn, turning pucks over in the middle of the ice. We have some forwards that are risk-reward, we live with that with certain guys.”
The line played a heavy game that gave the skilled Flames some serious problems. After skating together again this morning at Warrior Ice Arena, the expectation is they will get the same opportunity against a quick and skilled Stars lineup.
Back To Basics
One thing that makes the Bruins so dangerous is their ability to play a structured game. That hasn’t been the case in their last two games. The Bruins have tried to get ‘too cute’, something they cannot do against the Stars. For their part, the Bruins know and understand that.
“We definitely had a little bit of that tonight,” Marchand admitted when asked if he thought his team did in fact get too cute on Tuesday.
“We lost a lot of battles; we weren’t keeping it simple and especially on that ice. It’s tough to make plays on that ice so you gotta keep it very simple. We didn’t do enough of that. We didn’t get enough shots to the net when we had opportunities. So a little bit more of that and it will go our way.”
The Bruins will have to adjust and come to work ready against a tough Stars team that is in the thick of the Central Division race.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Anders Bjork
Sean Kuraly – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Jeremy Lauzon
Bruins lines against the Stars are subject to change and are based off of this morning’s skate. Kase will make his Bruins debut tonight, per Cassidy. Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh, Joakim Nordstrom, John Moore and Connor Clifton will be the scratches. Halak is expected to start after Rask started each of the last two games.
Dallas Stars Lines
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Corey Perry
Mattias Janmark – Joe Pavelski – Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano – Radek Faksa – Blake Comeau
Rope Hintz – Jason Dickinson – Denis Gurianov
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera – Roman Polak
Stars lines are subject to change. Bishop is the confirmed starter, as per Sean Shapiro. Stephen Johns (upper-body) is listed as day-to-day and will not play tonight.