BRIGHTON, MA – The Boston Bruins have been playing around with their forwards over the last few weeks, and the carousel continues this week as they have recalled big Finnish center Joona Koppanen for the second time in as many weeks.
Koppanen played well in his only appearance in brief minutes during last week’s 3-0 shutout loss to the Seattle Kraken, but was sent down presumably because Tomas Nosek’s upper body had healed to the point where he could resume taking draws as the fourth line center.
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Clearly that wasn’t the case, however, as Nick Foligno took eight face-offs in Monday’s win over the Flyers.
The 6-foot-5 Koppanen was sharing center time with Nosek at Tuesday morning’s practice centering Nick Foligno and AJ Greer as an energy line and will replace Nosek in the lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the Islanders at USB Arena.
It comes down to getting another look at a player in Koppanen after getting a couple of shot attempts in 8:50 of ice time in the loss, and looking like a big, fast player that could be an option later down the line. And allowing Nosek to get a little closer to again taking faceoffs, normally a strength of his game, by sitting out one o the back-to-back games in New York this week.
“It’s just the opportunity to play. [Nosek] doesn’t deserve it, but he’s understanding of the situation and it’s one more game to let him back to 100 percent health,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery of Nosek, who has one point and is a minus-1 in seven games during the month of January.
Otherwise, it appeared that the Boston Bruins lineup will be the same when they take the ice against the Islanders on Wednesday night while riding a two-game winning streak where they appear to have their full groove back.
“We’re playing good hockey here again the last two games. I think we’re back to playing Boston Bruins hockey like we were for a long time,” said Montgmery. “It’s hard to take anybody out of the lineup right now. It just is.”
Here’s the projected line combos and D-pairings for Wednesday night’s road game based on Tuesday’s practice: