The Boston Bruins can gain a stranglehold on their First Round series against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight inside the NHL’s Toronto bubble. Thanks to a 3-1 victory on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4, needless to say, is a vital swing game for both sides.
Puck drop is set for 8:00 pm on NBCSN, NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
PASTRNAK OUT AGAIN
David Pastrnak missed both Games 2 and 3 for the Boston Bruins. The sniper skated “briefly” yesterday during the Bruins optional practice. He also got some time in the gym, according to head coach Bruce Cassidy. As for his status tonight? Cassidy didn’t commit one way or the other on Sunday.
“That’s encouraging. He’s got his skates on out there,” Cassidy told reporters after the skate Sunday morning. “How does that bode for tomorrow? Not sure yet, probably a little premature. Let’s see how he does in the morning. I’d put him at, I don’t know, I’d say 50-50 at best right now. Of course, that could change over 24 hours.”
Pastrnak appeared to injure himself while celebrating Patrice Bergeron’s overtime goal last Wednesday in Game 1.
Did Pastrnak re-aggravate his injury celebrating Bergeron’s goal? Watch 88 the entire time. https://t.co/NZem6ivulH
— Carolyn Mooney (@caramooney) August 13, 2020
On Monday morning Cassidy erased any potential hope of a return for Pastrnak in Game 4. Cassidy confirmed in his media availability that Pastrnak will not be available for Game 4, and that Anders Bjork will start on a line with Brad Marchand and Bergeron.
“That’s the way we’re going to start it and if we have to change we will,” Cassidy said.
The Bruins started their playoff journey a sluggish 0-for-13 on the powerplay. In the last two games, the Bruins have gone 3-for-8 on the man advantage, all without their leading goal scorer in Pastrnak. For a powerplay that finished second in the NHL by percentage in 2019-20, it seemed like a matter of time until the goals started going in.
So, what finally turned things around?
“Two things come to mind. First, the addition of Krech (David Krejci), his patience and his skillset allows him to make plays under pressure,” Torey Krug told reporters. “Carolina has a high-energy, high-pressure kill and he allows things to settle down. He demands respect and time on the ice from the opponent.
“The second thing would just be going back to hard work. I think we’re now winning loose puck battles, getting those second, third chances. And that’s something that I think was missing from the first three games and the first game against Carolina as well. Just getting back to outworking the opponent. Doesn’t matter if you’re 5-on-5 or 5-on-4, that needs to be a staple for the team and it’s working for us.”
Krejci, who Krug alluded to, has one of the three powerplay goals for the Bruins in the last two games. Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle have the others.
GOODBYE MR. SVECHNIKOV?
Andrei Svechnikov was injured in Saturday’s Game 3 when he got tangled with Zdeno Chara while battling in the slot. His right knee appeared to buckle in the battle. Svechnikov needed to be helped off the ice by his teammates, and did not return.
It doesn’t sound like he’ll be returning anytime soon.
“I know he’s getting looked at right now,” Brind’Amour said on Saturday. “It didn’t look very good, obviously. Fell really awkward. Certainly, didn’t look good. We’ll have more, obviously, at some point.”
In six games for the Hurricanes during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrei Svechnikov has seven points (4 g, 3 a). Five of those points (3 g, 2 a) came in the Hurricanes’ three-game sweep of the New York Rangers in the Qualification Round.
“Right now, it’s tough because you see a kid go down, and that injury looks really bad,” Brind’Amour continued on Saturday. “That’s all that’s going through my head. I hate it for him. That’s it. I can’t even comment on anything else, to be honest with you.”
There wasn’t much more to add on Sunday. Brind’Amour said that he “highly doubts” that Svechnikov will be back for the playoffs. The second-year head coach followed that up by saying he did not have an official update, and that the team is still waiting for MRI results.
BOSTON BRUINS LINES
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Andres Bjork
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase
Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle – Jack Studnicka
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
Boston Bruins lines are subject to change. Halak is now the undisputed starter with Tuukka Rask opting out. He’s expected to start unless stated otherwise by Cassidy. Bjork, as mentioned above, will start on the top line with Pastrnak out for a third straight game. Cassidy also confirmed that Clifton will remain in the lineup and that John Moore and Jeremy Lauzon would be scratched.
CAROLINA HURRICANES LINES
Nino Niederreiter – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Ryan Dzingel – Vincent Trocheck – Martin Necas
Brock McGinn – Jordan Staal – Justin Williams
Warren Foegele – Morgan Geekie – Jordan Martinook
Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei – Sami Vatanen
Haydn Fleury – Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Carolina Hurricanes lines are subject to change. Mrazek is expected to get the start, but Brind’Amour has not confirmed that. James Reimer, who won Game 2 for the Hurricanes, has only played on the second half of back-to-back sets during the playoffs. With Svechnikov out of the lineup, Niederreiter is expected to shift up to play with Aho and Teravainen. Joel Edmundson is nearing a return, but will not be available to the Hurricanes in Game 4.