(Photo Credit: Adam Richins for BSJ)
By Mike Cratty Twitter: @Mike_Cratty
A flurry of lineup news came to the surface ahead of the Boston Bruins first-ever home game with the Las Vegas Golden Knights tonight. The Bruins had an optional pregame skate this morning. Plenty of lineup shuffling has taken place in an eventful season up to this point.
It’s almost hard to believe that something like that could happen to a team so early, but unfortunately, it has, and the Bruins have had to adjust big-time.
Frank Vatrano sits, Matt Beleskey suits up
To start, it appears that Frank Vatrano will be a healthy scratch tonight. This isn’t shocking because Vatrano has yet to tally a point in nine games. Matt Beleskey will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past three games. Some physical presence from Matt Beleskey in David Backes’ absence could be beneficial against a Vegas Golden Knights team that has turned some heads. Beleskey, like Vatrano, has yet to tally a point this season, but in six games in Beleskey’s case.
Anton Khudobin and David Krejci still out
Anton Khudobin and David Krejci were not on the ice today. Zane McIntyre will suit up tonight in Khudobin’s absence. Khudobin is still dealing with a lower-body injury, while Krejci is still dealing with back issues. McIntyre served as the backup in Columbus and has yet to see NHL action this season. Following Monday’s game against Columbus, McIntyre was sent back down to Providence but then brought back up yesterday due to Anton Khudobin’s current status.
David Backes to IR, Austin Czarnik, and Jordan Szwarz called up
David Backes, on the other hand, was placed on IR earlier today. News broke yesterday that David Backes will miss approximately the next eight weeks due to colon surgery. That’s not what a guy who has already lost time due to diverticulitis wants to see. Jordan Szwarz was also called up as to help lessen the blow yesterday, followed by Austin Czarnik earlier today. Szwarz will play tonight, while Czarnik is a game-time decision.
Czarnik played in 49 games with the Bruins last year and has played in two so far this season. The speedy 24-year-old forward is off to a productive start with the Providence Bruins despite having no points in two games with the Bruins this year. Czarnik is averaging two points-per-game in Providence with four goals and six assists in five games.
Jordan Szwarz set for his Bruins debut
Tonight will be a special night for Jordan Szwarz, as it will be his Boston Bruins debut. Szwarz was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes with the 97th overall pick in the fourth-round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. It has been a rocky career so far for Jordan Szwarz spending the majority of it in the AHL with the Portland Pirates, Springfield Falcons, and most recently the Providence Bruins. Szwarz hasn’t seen NHL action since playing nine games with the Arizona Coyotes in the 2014-2015 season.
In his first season as a Providence Bruin last year, Szwarz earned an “A” on his chest and put up an impressive 22-32-54 stat line in 65 regular season games. All were career highs in his pro career so far. He added to an impressive regular season with six goals, five assist and 11 points in 17 games in the trek to the Eastern Conference Finals for the Providence Bruins, where they, unfortunately, fell to the Syracuse Crunch in five games.
Through six games of the 2017-2018 campaign, Szwarz has five goals, three assists, and eight points in the AHL for the 6-2-0 Providence Bruins.
What the Bruins lineup will look like isn’t a sure thing yet. There will be shuffling in the forward core for sure due to the decimation of a Bruins forward core due to injury. Round one against the Vegas Golden Knights was a tough one to swallow so the Bruins will look for revenge at TD Garden with a different looking lineup.