The Boston Bruins (27-17-4, 58 pts) will complete their three-game road trip on Saturday night when they take on the struggling Ottawa Senators (18-25-4, 40 pts) at the Canadian Tire Centre. (7 PM ET, NESN, Sportsnet).
The Boston Bruins got Patrice Bergeron back after a three-game absence for Thursday night’s road game vs. the NY Islanders, but struggled after building a 1-0 lead after the first period at USB Arena.
After two straight trips to the Eastern Conference Final, the Islanders have had a nightmare season. Taylor Hall was really the only player that showed up and brought his A-game against the Islanders as the forwards struggled to generate offense, the defensemen made compound mistakes with the puck breaking it out of the defensive zone and Linus Ullmark probably wasn’t at his best level-best between the pipes either.
“It’s kind of been like that all year,” said Taylor Hall, who scored the B’s only goal and had a whopping 11 shot attempts as the best player on the ice for the Black and Gold. “Even when Brad [Marchand] is in the lineup, it’s not like we’re beating teams 6-5 or 4-3; it’s usually a 3-2 win or 3-1 or 4-1 with an empty netter, those kinds of games that we have to be comfortable playing. Tonight, we were up one going into the second, that should be a signal to lay on the gas and keep going.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think we did that. I don’t care what their record is. This team has had a lot of success, especially in their building. They’re gonna play hard, get pucks to the net and get gritty goals. That’s how they play. It’s what they did to us tonight.”
Boston Bruins rookie Jeremy Swayman (9-7-3, 2.15 goals against average and .923 save percentage) gets the start for the B’s and looks to build on the excellent road numbers (1.56 GAA and .946 save percentage) he’s posted this season.
Anton Forsberg (10-8-1, 2.78 goals against average, .916 save percentage) will get the start between the pipes for the Ottawa Senators against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Boston Bruins Notes
-Bergeron will center Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak tonight with Brad Marchand still out of the lineup.
“Obviously, Pasta and Taylor do have that great speed on the wings,” said Bergeron. “I think it’s one of those things where you try to send them and create something out of nothing. Many times, they like to have the puck on their stick…so for me, I think it’s more trying to get open, try to generate chances for them to get it…trying to read off of my wings as much as possible.”
Hall scored a goal and had 11 shot attempts in that spot on Thursday night, but David Pastrnak conversely had a tough night turning pucks over and turning away shooting attempts.
-Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen drew back into the lineup and had one shot on net in 19:42 of ice time where he did manage to stay away from allowing any goals against when he was on the ice.
-Brandon Carlo is questionable for Saturday night’s game after being cut with a skate blade during Saturday’s morning skate in Ottawa.
-Marchand will serve the fifth game of his suspension after hearing from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that his appeal was denied for a lightened penalty.
“In reaching my conclusions I have given careful consideration to Mr. Marchand’s testimony concerning his efforts to control his emotions in order to excel as an impact player who plays aggressively, but within the rules. I believe that he has already made significant strides towards achieving this goal. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Marchand’s behavior and lack of judgment in respect of these incidents did not meet acceptable NHL standards,” wrote Bettman in a lengthy opinion on the matter. “He created a distraction which reflected poorly on himself, on his team and on the League as a whole, and as such, I find he also deserves the penalty he received. Having said that, I encourage Mr. Marchand to reflect on this experience and to use it positively in furtherance of his efforts to refine and improve his on-ice image and game for everyone’s benefit.”
Ottawa Senators Notes
-Thomas Chabot and Matt Murray out for the weekend and may be ready for game action next week. Colin White is also out and will practice with the Senators this week as a timetable for a return begins to come into place.
-The Ottawa Senators will be welcoming more fans into their home building on Saturday night as COVID restrictions begin to loosen up, and the Sens hope that can give them more of a home ice advantage at the Canadian Tire Centre. “We need our fans,” said Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith. “It will be good to have more fans tonight and more and more fans as we go, and hopefully we get rolling here.”
-The Sens are looking for a much better effort against the Boston Bruins this time around than last week when they dropped a 2-0 shutout loss to the Black and Gold in a Saturday matinee at the Canadian Tire Centre.
“They just came out [in the first period] and we weren’t ready,” said Smith. “They’ve got Bergeron back and they’re a good hockey team. We did not get to their net. We need to play a lot meaner and be a lot more physical. And if we’re not then we won’t get to the net and we won’t be able to get to their goaltender.”
Boston Bruins Lines:
Taylor Hall – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Jake DeBrusk – Erik Haula – Nick Foligno
Anton Blidh-Tomas Nosek-Curtis Lazar
Urho Vaakanainen – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton
Ottawa Senators Lines:
Brady Tkachuk–Nick Paul–Connor Brown
Alex Formenton–Tim Stutzle–Adam Gaudette
Parker Kelly–Dylan Gambrell–Auston Watson
Zach Sanford–Chris Tierney–Tyler Ennis
Nick Holden–Nikita Zaitsev
Erik Brannstrom–Artem Zub
Victor Mete–Josh Brown