BRIGHTON, Mass – Brad Marchand hasn’t skated every minute of every Boston Bruins practice over the last 10 days since starting training camp and was absent altogether from practice the first couple of days this week. But the Bruins left winger was on the ice for Wednesday’s final practice at Warrior Ice Arena in his customary spot alongside Patrice Bergeron, and Marchand is expected to be in the lineup Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy termed Marchand a game time decision against the Devils and admitted there could be some level of management with a player coming off sports hernia surgery, but also indicated he expects the Bruins agitator to suit up vs. New Jersey.
“We feel he is [good to go]. He’s a game time decision for [Thursday] obviously coming off his surgery, but he’s involved in, I think, 90 percent of the practices,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He left a couple practices early to get treatment, so I suspect that for him there will be a little bit of adapting from the surgery as we go through here. But I full expect him to play [against the Devils] and see where it goes from there.”
It looks like rookie Jack Studnicka will get the first look on the right wing with Marchand and Bergeron on the top line and could have a few weeks auditioning in that role until David Pastrnak is ready to return to the lineup.
On a different note, Par Lindholm practiced with the B’s on Wednesday as a spare forward in line rushes but was waived by the Bruins at noontime with a likely destination for Boston’s taxi squad to begin the regular season. Here’s the line combinations and defensive pairs from Wednesday’s practice with the top four lines and three defensive pairings set in place for opening night against the New Jersey Devils: