The Boston Bruins (17-10-2, 36 pts), will try to earn their longest win streak of the season when they host the Minnesota Wild (19-10-2, 40 Points) at TD Garden on Thursday night (7 pm, ESPN, SN1).
Note: This game will not be on NESN, but thankfully, it will be on ESPN mothership on your TV and not just online on ESPN+ as all their NHL broadcasts have been so far.
The longest win streak of the season for the Boston Bruins came over a three-game stretch November 13-20 when the Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens, and Philadelphia Flyers. Then the Calgary Flames came to TD Garden and absolutely embarrassed the Bruins on TD Garden ice, shutting them out 4-0. Can they avoid a letdown against a skidding Minnesota Wild team, who comes in on a five-game losing streak a forgettable 6-4 loss at Target Field in the Winter Classic?
They will have to do so without their best defenseman, Charlie McAvoy who is out with a “lingering lower-body issue” and nothing COVID-related according to head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Boston Bruins rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman will get the nod between the pipes Thursday for the B’s. Swayman made 23 saves in a 5-1 win for the Bruins over the Red Wings Sunday in Detroit and is now 8-5-2 with a 2.20 GAA and .920 save percentage.
Boston Bruins Notes
–Boston Bruins defenseman John Moore will draw in with McAvoy out of the lineup. Moore has no points in four games this season. He has bounced up and down between Providence and Boston a lot so far but hasn’t played all that bad in those four games with the big club. Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen has also been called on an emergency basis.
-Rookie Oskar Steen continues to secure a regular spot in the lineup. Steen will ride the right wing with Charlie Coyle at center and Nick Foligno on the left, on the third line again after scoring his first career NHL goal and registering a fourth point in five games with the Boston Bruins.
-Jake DeBrusk, Karson Kuhlman, and Tomas Nosek remain in COVID Protocol.
Minnesota Wild Notes
-The Wild have been hampered by injuries and while they recently got defenseman Jonas Brodin back from COVID Protocol, they’re still missing defenseman Jared Spurgeon and centers Joel Eriksson Ek and Nick Bjugstad. Goalie Cam Talbot was also injured in the Winter Classic Saturday and is not available tonight.
-Wild star winger Kirill Kaprisov hasn’t had a sophomore slump and continues to shine. Kaprisov leads the team in points with 13 goals and a team-high 26 assists in 31 games. Defenseman Matt Dumba leads all Wild defensemen in points with three goals and 12 assists in 30 games.
-There will be two cool stories on the Wild side tonight as former Boston College star forward and Milford, MA native Matt Boldy makes his NHL debut in Boston against the team the 20-year-old rookie grew up cheering for. Also, rookie forward Marco Rossi will make his long-anticipated NHL debut. Rossi was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-November 2020, was able to play for Austria at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in December, then missed the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, when he reported to Wild training camp in early January 2021. He resumed hockey training in June.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Craig Smith
Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – David Pastrnak
Nick Foligno – Charlie Coyle – Oskar Steen
Anton Blidh – Trent Frederic – Curtis Lazar
Matt Grzelcyk – John Moore
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort-Connor Clifton
Minnesota Wild Lines:
Kirill Kaprisov – Ryan Hartman – Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno – Marco Rossi – Kevin Fiala
Matthew Boldy – Frederick Gaudreau – Calen Addison
Connor Dewar – Nico Sturm – Rem Pitlick
Jonas Brodin – Matthew Dumba
Jon Merrill – Alex Goligoski
Jordie Benn – Dmitry Kulikov