Pregame Notes: Bruins vs Flyers – 01/23/21

PHOTO CREDITS: (FRANK GUNN / AP)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

The Boston Bruins are two nights removed from their second win of the still-fresh 2021 regular-season. The Bruins battled back from a 2-0 deficit at the start of the third period to eventually beat the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout off a Jake DeBrusk game-winner. Tonight, the Bruins meet the Flyers once again at home in TD Garden. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST.

Time to Build on Momentum

After their season-opening win, the Bruins then fell to the New Jersey Devils in overtime and got shutout by the New York Islanders earlier in the week to fall to a 1-1-1 record. With struggles surround offence, the Bruins entered Thursday’s contest against Philly with hopes of re-igniting that offensive flame.

After a scoreless opening forty minutes, Jack Studnicka scored his first career NHL goal to cut the lead in half, followed by a Charlie Coyle goal just over a minute later. Philadelphia fired back with a goal to re-take the lead, but Nick Ritchie on the power-play tied it up again. Brandon Carlo unloaded a rocket from the point to give Boston their first lead of the game, before James van Riemsdyk equaled the score again. No goals in the 3-on-3 overtime session led to the shootout where DeBrusk scored the winner.

This can’t stop there. The Bruins need to keep the momentum going into Saturday’s game. Carter Hart is expected to be the starting goaltender for the Flyers, as he was in the last outing, so the Bruins need to keep building that new-found momentum on the scoresheet and keep the Flyers chasing the game.

D Connor Clifton to Make Season Debut

As announced earlier today, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) will not be in the lineup for Boston. The 27-year-old defender took an awkward fall into the boards and appeared to injured one of his legs. Grzelcyk stayed on the bench and took a couple more shifts, but was kept out of the overtime period. He did not practice yesterday and Head Coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed today he will not be playing tonight and is considered to be “day-to-day”.

In replace of Grzelcyk, the Long Branch, New Jersey native Connor Clifton will enter the lineup for the first time this season. Clifton, 25, is entering his first season on a three-year, $1 million AAV contract signed in July of last year and has a combined 50 games played total throughout his career.

In 2019-20, Clifton skated in 31 games for the B’s, scoring two goals averaging 14:25 minutes on ice. During the postseason, Clifton scored 1-2-3 totals in eight games. As of right now, it’s expected Clifton will get to play in Grzelcyk’s spot on the second pairing alongside Brandon Carlo. Pairings of Lauzon-McAvoy and Zboril-Miller are projected to remain the same.

Scoring Early & Fewer Penalties Should Be Priority

As mentioned earlier, the Bruins were down 2-0 at the second intermission, putting them with their backs against the wall – forcing a comeback. If the Bruins had scored in the first period, a period where they outshot the Flyers 14-3. The Bruins failed to drive the puck towards Carter Hart and had too many shots from the outside. That said, the first twenty minutes were all Boston.

Getting the game’s first goal has only happened once for Boston this season, back in game one against the Devils, and going forward, that needs to change. Also, Boston took five penalties last game – including one late in the third, allowing two power-play goals in the process. A more disciplined game will go a long way for a win.

Bruins Projected Lines

Marchand – Bergeron – DeBrusk
Ritchie – Krejci – Studnicka
Frederic – Coyle – Smith
Bjork – Kuraly – Wagner

Lauzon – McAvoy
Clifton – Carlo
Zboril – Miller

Halak
Rask

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