By: Zach Carlone | Follow me on Twitter @zcarlone21
The Bruins enter tonight’s game coming off of one of their most thrilling games of the season. They scored seven goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins en route to a hefty win. Bruins forward Brad Marchand led the way by potting a hat-trick and getting an assist. The last time the Bruins scored seven goals in one game was against the Philadelphia Flyers at Lake Tahoe on February 21st, and tonight will be the first time the Bruins and Flyers meet since then. The puck drop for tonight’s home contest is scheduled for 7 pm EST.
Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron has already cemented his legacy in a black and gold sweater, and tonight could be the game he furthers pads that legacy even further. No. 37 has 898 career points in 1,123 games. Not only is he closing in on his 900th career point, but he’s also currently tied with Bruins legend Rick Middleton in fourth place for all-time career points among the Bruins. One point tonight will make him the team’s fourth-highest all-time scorer behind Phil Esposito, and two points will give him 900 for the career thus far.
With the departure of long-time Bruins captain Zdeno Chara this past offseason, Patrice Bergeron finally got the “C” on his jersey that he’s deserved for so long. He’s been playing like a leader this season, even with the Bruins’ poor stretch of games played last month. On the season, Bergeron has 29 points in 34 games and has a +/- of 10. The four-time Selke Trophy winner, given to the league’s best defensive forward, will be looking to continue his Hall of Fame career by making history tonight.
During the Bruins stretch of postponed games at the end of March, two Bruins found themselves on the COVID Protocol List: forwards Sean Kuraly and Jake DeBrusk. Kuraly returned in Saturday’s win against the Penguins, and DeBrusk is expected to slot back into the lineup for tonight’s game after being taken off the list. The Bruins offense sky-rocketed without DeBrusk on Saturday, and it’ll be interesting to see what contributions he could make in his first game since March 18th.
DeBrusk is expected to play with Charlie Coyle and Zach Senyshyn on the third line for the Bruins tonight. In 21 games for DeBrusk this season, he’s picked up three goals and four assists. The streaky winger has had few memorable performances and many forgettable games this season, and it’ll be up to him to be a difference-maker against the Flyers tonight.
With Tuukka Rask still a ways away from returning from injury, Bruins goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Dan Vladar are called upon to be the stand-alone men between the pipes. The goalie carousel took an expected turn at the morning skate when Dan Vladar and Providence Bruins stand-out Jeremy Swayman were the only two goalies at practice. Per head coach Bruce Cassidy, Halak received a positive COVID Test and was placed on the Protocol list immediately thereafter.
With Swayman expected to serve as the backup, the Bruins will turn to Vladar against a strong Flyers offense. He’s been pretty impressive in a small batch of games in his first NHL season. On the year, Vladar is 2-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA and a .929 save percentage. He’s faced a high number of shots every game he’s played in, and he’s still looked strong, leaving the Bruins in good hands after this morning’s unexpected news.
Bruins Projected Lineup
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Ritchie – Krejci – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Coyle – Senyshyn
Frederic – Kuraly – Kuhlman
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Lauzon – Clifton
Zboril – Kampfer