After another long wait with five days of after last weekend’s back-to-back sweep of the Devils and Canadiens, the Boston Bruins (8-5-0, 16 pts) will again travel to Philly for a date against the Flyers (8-4-3, 19 points) at 7 pm (NESN, NBCSP) at Wells Fargo Center. The Bruins lost to the Flyers at the start of the season, 6-3, in a game that was an off night for both the defense and rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman, and opened up a series of losses to fast, skilled opponents like the Panthers, Hurricanes and Oilers.
The real foe on Saturday night, however, could be rust given the long stretches without games that the Bruins have already gone through during a stop-and-start opening month to their season. It’s been difficult for the players when it comes to generating momentum, and tough for the B’s decision makers to get a true read on their team.
“It hasn’t been great,” said Carlo, after Friday’s practice prior to leaving for Philadelphia. “I think we’ve all looked at the schedule each day and saw that we’re at 13 games and other teams are at close to 20. It’s been really weird. But ebbs and flows of the season, you’ve got to adjust.
“I think we can just find our groove again in these next couple games and from there we should be pretty well set because things will get a little more consistent with games throughout the week. Overall, I think we just want to continue to play.”
The Bruins will get a chance to get their groove on Saturday night in Philly, and then again on Sunday night against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden.
Boston Bruins Notes
–Linus Ullmark gets the start for the Boston Bruins after rookie Jeremy Swayman started both ends of last weekend’s back-to-back wins against the Devils and Canadiens. Ullmark is 1-2-0 with a 2.73 goals against average and .918 save percentage on the road for the Black and Gold this season.
– Patrice Bergeron (6 goals, 10 points) and Brad Marchand (4 goals, 11 points) have been carrying the Bruins during their six games in the month of November as the Perfection Line continues to get it done.
-Craig Smith is due to return for the Boston Bruins are missing the last two games with an upper body injury that’s been nagging him all season. Smith is still looking for his first point this season and is a minus-7 in eight games this year.
-Mike Reilly will also return after being a healthy scratch for the last couple of games after struggling defensively. Bruce Cassidy said it’s pretty simple when it comes to what he’s looking for out of Reilly upon his return.
“He has to work hard to get back on pucks and be clean on the breakout. He has to play more north,” said Bruce Cassidy amidst a few days of practice this week. “I think he’s having a tendency to go back, circle back and circle back where the forwards spacing so far ahead that we lose our attack. Two big things I noticed when he first got here last year was his neutral zone transition first pass where he got the puck up in a hurry and all of a sudden we’re going. We appear faster because the puck was moving quick.
“This year he’s had a tendency to drag the puck back way too often. I think he has to get back on his fair share of pucks as well. I think he’s leaving some of that dirty work to his partner too often when it’s his turn. Like some players it will be a good week of work here and then get back at it because he’s a good player that’s going to help us win games. But I’ve got to tell you that Jakub Zboril has worked hard to stay ready, and that’s a good sign for him. That’s a good pro.”
Reilly will pair with youngster Jakub Zboril for a third pairing for Saturday night’s game with Connor Clifton coming out of the lineup.
Philadelphia Flyers Notes
–Claude Giroux scored a pair of goals and pushed things to overtime against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Philly’s last game before they eventually fell in a 4-3 shootout to the defending back-to-back champ Bolts.
— This is the second of three meetings this season between the teams, and the second and final game at the Wells Fargo Center. On Oct. 20, the Flyers skated to a 6-3 home win. The season series will conclude at TD Garden in Boston on Jan. 13.
–The Flyers come into Saturday night with the NHL’s seventh-ranked goals against average (2.47) aided in large part with the brilliant play of goaltender Carter Hart. Hart is 5-3-3 with a 2.25 goals against average and .932 save percentage, but it will be backup Martin Jones getting the start against the Bruins. Jones is 3-1-0 with 2.27 goals against average and .931 save percentage thus far this season in what’s been very strong goaltender for the Flyers this season.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – Charlie Coyle – Nick Foligno
Jake DeBrusk – Erik Haula – Craig Smith
Anton Blidh – Tomáš Nosek – Curtis Lazar
Derek Forbort – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Mike Reilly – Jakub Zboril
Philadelphia Flyers Lines
Joel Farabee–Sean Couturier–James van Riemsdyk
Claude Giroux–Derick Brassard–Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom–Scott Laughton–Travis Konecny
Maxwell Willman–Nate Thompson–Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov–Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim–Rasmus Ristolainen
Keith Yandle–Nick Seeler