By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88
The shocking news that Boston Bruins top net-minder Tuukka Rask was opting out of the Playoffs this past Saturday certainly put the team in a interesting position. Understandably wild speculation bombarded social media with mixed reactions, but for the Bruins, there was still a game to win. And Boston did what Boston does best; they rallied and without their top goaltender and scorer, they won. The win over the Carolina Hurricanes has put the B’s ahead in the series 2-1. Tonight, the Bruins have a chance to widen the gap.
ADJUSTING ALONG THE WAY
So far this series, the Bruins lineup upfront has shifted, especially with the absence of David Pastrnak. With the team down their leading scorer, other players have stepped up to the plate. Perhaps the biggest (and most pleasant) surprise is the connection between David Krejci and fellow countryman Ondrej Kase. As evident in Game One, Krejci would set up plenty of plays for both Kase and DeBrusk.
As the second line continues to dominate puck possession, the 24-year-old Kase is looking to nab his first goal as a Bruin, while DeBrusk has been itching to net one in. Throughout the series, the veteran play coming way of Krejci has been the highlight so far and seems to have finally earn praise throughout the Boston sports media. If you don’t believe in just how important he’s been, his recent stats speak for itself. With the win this past Saturday, Krejci is now second behind Ray Bourque as the Bruins’ all-time player with the most postseason points. Patrice Bergeron is a close third while Phil Esposito is fourth on the list.
Tonight’s tilt against Carolina will not feature David Pastrnak for a pivotal Game Four. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy previously stated there was “50/50” chance that the 24-year-old Czech will return as he participated in an optional skate on Sunday. Skate rushes this morning featured Anders Bjork on the first line. Despite shifting players up front, the Bruins power-play (especially with the addition of Krejci) has started to click and was three-for-eight in their last two games against the Hurricanes. The Bruins will need to continue to fight hard and outwork their opponent.
With Rask out of the lineup, Jaroslav Halak now has reigns in between the pipes. Despite a rusty gaffe while trying to clear the puck (leading to Carolina’s only goal), Halak looked strong making 29 saves on 30 shots. Whether or not his workload includes an appearance by back-up goalies Dan Vlader and Max Lagace remains to be seen. That being said, its safe to assume that Halak will be the go-to choice:
“(Halak’s) our guy, he’s proven that right now, the other guys have not. Not saying they couldn’t handle it and we may have to look at the Game 5 and 6 back-to-back, but I don’t want to get that far ahead. Let’s get through [Monday] night’s game and let’s see where Jaro is at. He has played back-to-back for us. A couple of years ago we needed him to do that, so he’s a guy that we’ve seen do it and have success.”Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy
Carolina will be down a key player in their lineup after Andrei Svechnikov suffered a very scary looking injury when he got tangled with Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara. As both players battled up front, Svechnikov’s leg bent awkwardly as he fell (from video-it appears both his ankle and knee have been affected). With the young forward gone, expect Ryan Dzingel back in the lineup. Petr Mrazek was the losing goalie for Game Three and Game One so expect James Reimer in net as he was the goalie for Carolina’s win in Game Two. Sebastion Aho leads the team with 10 points and seven assists.
WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with a start time of 8:00 pm, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
WHERE TO WATCH: NBCSN, FS-CR, NESN
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