(Photo Credits: Empire Mine Craft)
By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88
The Boston Bruins travel to Long Island to square off against the New York Islanders, amid some positive reports that superstar right-winger David Pastrnak may return to the lineup this week. After an emotional overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, (with some fired-up encouraging words from MMA star Conor McGregor), the Bruins snapped their three-game losing skid. With that win, Boston will be looking to continue to carry over that emotion in tonight’s match-up at the Nassau Coliseum.
GETTING THEIR GROOVE BACK
Despite having dropped their last three games, the boys in Black and Gold quickly jumped back into their regular form with Brad Marchand netting the winning OT goal. As the regular season winds down with only 10 games left to play, the Bruins will continue to rack up the points and widen the gap between themselves and the Toronto Maple Leafs (who have lost their last few games). The Bruins are now 43-20-9 are still in second place in the the Atlantic Division and are now third in the league, trailing Calgary.
At this morning’s skate, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy updated the media on the possible return of Pastrnak:
“Not saying that he will (play), but he’ll make that decision in conjunction with the medical staff as early as (Tuesday) after morning skate. I would assume he’ll be a game-time decision…I suspect if he doesn’t play (Tuesday) that Thursday will be a real good day.”
If Pastrnak does return, it’ll be an adjustment for the winger. Since his injury was an upper-extremity, the 22-year-old Czech has been able to skate thus keeping his legs fresh. Even with the injury, Pastrnak is now tied with Brad Marchand for most goals at 31. Marchand, for his part, has stepped his game tremendously alongside his linemate Patrice Bergeron. He leads the team with 56 assist and also leads in points (87). Another milestone for the Bruins; Captain Zdeno Chara is one goal away from reaching the 200 career goal mark.
In other updates, injured defenseman Torey Krug was also seen skating at this morning’s optional pre-game skate in a red non-contact jersey. Kevan Miller, Matt Grzelcyk and Marcus Johansson did not travel with the team. Jake DeBrusk was reportedly not on the ice and in a camwalker boot. Expect Tuukka Rask in net tonight and has a 24-10-5 record with a 2.45 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.
(Photo Credits: Fansided: Eyes On Isles)
In their third meeting against the Islanders, the Bruins have won both previous games. The last time these two teams met was on February 5th with Boston winning 3-1, snapping the Isles eight-game point winning streak. New York hasn’t beaten the Bruins at home since 2013. With a recent 3-2 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild, the Isles are now tied with the Washington Capitals for first in the Metro Division at 91 points. The Islanders lead the league in goals against per game with a 2.33 average per game and under head coach Barry Trotz, have surged to a Playoff position.
(Photo Credits: Shutterstock)
On the injury front, center Casey Cizikas has been nursing a lower-body injury and will be a game-time decision for tonight. Former Bruins Johnny Boychuk will be a out for tonight’s game. Expect Robin Lehner in net tonight for the Isles. The 27 year-old goaltender has record of 20-11-5 with a goals against average of 2.19 and a save percentage of .927. Forward Anders Lee has netted a goal in four consecutive games and leads the team with 27 goals. Center Matt Barzal leads the team with 41 assists and 58 points.
WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with puck drop at 7:00P PM- NYCB Live/Nassau Coliseum
WHERE TO WATCH: MSG+, NESN