By: Zach Carlone | Follow me on Twitter! @zcarlone21
The injury-riddled Bruins roster is riding high after handing the San Jose Sharks their first loss of the season on Sunday afternoon. The Bruins won by a score of 4-3, with goals coming from forwards Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, and defenseman Derek Forbort. Forbort’s goal was his first as a Bruin, and first-year Bruin Linus Ullmark made 23 saves on 26 shots to earn his second victory of the season. The Bruins play another undefeated team tonight, the Florida Panthers, who have looked like one of the best teams in the league early on this season. The puck drop for tonight’s road game is scheduled for 7 pm EST.
‘Stud’ on the Second Line
With injuries taking their toll on the Bruins middle-six group of forwards, tonight looks to be a debut for Bruins center Jack Studnicka at the second-line center position. Nick Foligno and Craig Smith have been out with injuries, and Studnicka and Oskar Steen took their respective places in the lineup on Sunday. Studnicka is getting a shot to play top-six minutes after a season debut on Sunday, where he logged 11:10 TOI and tallied one shot on goal.
Studnicka is set to play with Taylor Hall and Charlie Coyle, with Coyle moving to the wing after playing the start of the season at center. The Bruins have the time in the early season to experiment with their lineup, specifically finding a permanent replacement following former Bruins center David Krejci’s departure in the offseason. Studnicka has earned his “try-out” in the coveted second-line center spot tonight, and he has to have hopes of making some instant chemistry with Hall and Coyle to stay in the lineup following Foligno and Smith’s eventual returns.
Lazar’s Season Debut
Bruins forward Curtis Lazar suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and was set to miss some time. After missing the first five games of the season, his elbow is feeling much better, and he’s expected to make his season debut tonight, playing on the fourth line with Thomas Nosek and Trent Frederic. He brought a lot of energy to the Bruins bottom-six after he arrived at the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline, and he’ll look to continue his strong start with the black and gold tonight.
Ullmark Gets the Nod
For now, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is rolling with the hot goaltender, and you can’t blame him. Linus Ullmark is going to get the start tonight after earning another victory on Sunday afternoon. Fellow goaltender Jeremy Swayman is expected to start tomorrow’s game versus the Carolina Hurricanes, his first action since taking a 6-3 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 20th. The Panthers and Hurricanes are two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference this season, so Ullmark and Swayman need to be ready for those teams’ firepower.
After a somewhat shaky preseason showing, Ullmark has looked stable and comfortable since the regular season has taken off. So far this season, the 28-year-old has a 2.00 GAA, and a .935 save percentage. It’s doubtful those numbers stick for the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign, but Ullmark’s numbers early on are a promising sign for Bruins fans who were worried about his play during the preseason to change their minds. The dust has been shaken off, and Ullmark needs to be at his best tonight against the highest-scoring team in the league.
Bruins Projected Lines
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Hall – Studnicka – Coyle
DeBrusk – Haula – Kuhlman
Frederic – Nosek – Lazar
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Reilly – Carlo
Forbort – Clifton