The Boston Bruins (43-14-12, 98 points) continued a difficult stretch tonight when they battled the white-hot Philadelphia Flyers (41-20-7, 89 points) at the Wells Fargo Center. It is the third and final meeting this season between the sides. Both previous meetings needed a shootout, and both were taken by the Flyers.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm,on NESN, NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub, and Sportsnet in Canada.
Krug, Carlo Injured
Brandon Carlo (upper-body) will miss his second consecutive game this evening. He’ll be joined by his normal partner, Torey Krug, who is also dealing with an upper-body injury. Neither skated with the main group at practice on Monday, and coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed they both will miss tonight’s game.
“Brandon and Torey are out. Upper bodies for both of those,” Cassidy said at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday. “Torey went into the boards with [Tampa’s Alex] Killorn the other night, it’s a residual effect of that, so he’ll be day-to-day, as well as Brandon. [Brandon] skated this morning, won’t play [Tuesday]. We’ll target Friday or the weekend for him.”
Carlo was replaced on Saturday night by John Moore, who will remain in the lineup. As for Krug’s replacement? Connor Clifton is set to return. He’ll play his first game since December 29th.
“I mean, he hasn’t played here for a while, so he’s going to have to find his game. Stay within himself early on. Make some simple decisions, hopefully initiate some plays early so he gets into it,” Cassidy said regarding Clifton. “Obviously playing in Providence will help that, but still it’s not the same…that’s the hand you’re dealt when you’re coming off injury.”
Clifton himself didn’t sound overly concerned about his over two months away from the NHL game.
“Obviously, I’m fresh, so I’m just going to work hard,” he told reporters in the locker room after practice.
It’s a common practice in the NBA, but not in the NHL. Resting players can be a smart idea, however, and the Bruins are getting to that point. After all, the Bruins are essentially locked into a playoff spot and almost certain to both win the Atlantic Division and finish as the number one team in the Eastern Conference.
Resting players will just a month until the Stanley Cup Playoffs may just be on the table. Not everyone seems to be in favor of it, however.
“It’s always hard as a competitor. You want to be out there; you want to play,” explained Patrice Bergeron. “We’ll see by the end when it comes to that. We’ll have those conversations. I know we’ve done it in the past. We’ll see what happens. As a player, you want to be out there.”
Of course, players want to play. That’s not a surprise. The coach? He wants his guys fully ready to go next month.
“Some guys who have played a lot this year are getting rest because of their injuries,” said Cassidy. “You’re getting the opportunity to get them some games off, but not the reason why we want them to have it. We’d rather do it at our choosing.”
The Flyers have won nine games in a row now, and jumped up into second place in the Metropolitan Division. They sit just a single point behind the Washington Capitals, and have played one less game. Their current nine-game winning streak is the longest active one in the NHL. The Flyers look to make it ten straight against the Bruins tonight.
During their streak, the Flyers have outscored their opponent 39-16 (+23) and have five players who average at least a point-per-game, led by Travis Konecny (5 g, 8 a) and Jakub Voracek (1 g, 12 a) with 13 points each. Young goaltender Carter Hart, meanwhile, leads the the NHL with a 7-0-0 mark to go along with a .942 save percentage and 1.72 GAA.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase
Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Jeremy Lauzon
Connor Clifton – John Moore
Bruins lines against the Flyers are subject to change. Krug and Carlo, as mentioned, are both out with upper-body injuries. Anton Blidh and Anders Bjork are the healthy scratches for this evening. Rask, who also played on Saturday night, is expected to get the start. Clifton plays his first game since December 29th in the NHL.
Philadelphia Flyers Lines
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee – Kevin Hayes – Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton – Derek Grant – Tyler Pitlick
Michael Raffl – Nate Thompson – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov – Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim – Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg – Justin Braun
Flyers lines against the Bruins are subject to change. Hart is the expected starter, but nothing has been confirmed as of this time. Justin Braun (flu) is expected to play, as is Philippe Myers (undisclosed). James Van Riemsdyk (hand), Nolan Patrick (head) and Samuel Morin (knee) are on IR and will not play. Oskar Lindblom is battling cancer and kicking it’s ass.