The Bruins will limp into Toronto tonight for one of its most heated rivalries. Although Boston boasts a 5-1-1 record heading into Saturday’s division battle, head coach Bruce Cassidy delivered some bad news Friday afternoon.
Cassidy said David Krejci, who also missed Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury, would not travel with the team to Toronto. He also revealed that Joakim Nordstrom is now dealing with an injury of his own stemming from a high hit in the shootout loss to Tampa. Nordstrom also did not make the trip north of the border.
In addition, Cassidy reported that Patrice Bergeron is nursing an injury, although Bergeron did accompany the team to Toronto. Cassidy was hopeful Friday that the first-line center would be available to play.
With injuries up front starting to mount, Cassidy said someone may be called up from the Providence Bruins to provide reinforcement. Anders Bjork is the most likely candidate for an early-season call-up.
Bjork began the year in Providence after his last two seasons were cut short by shoulder surgeries. Bjork is playing very well in Providence and has NHL experience on his side. Peter Cehlarik could also get the nod.
Another possibility, Brendan Guance, was taken off on a stretcher during the Baby Bs’ game Friday night. He is reported to have sustained a concussion, making his availability unlikely.
The Bruins and Maple Leafs know each other well. Not only are they division rivals, the teams met in the first round of the playoffs each of the last two seasons. The Bruins emerged victorious from both hard-fought seven-game series.
Although most of the usual suspects from those series remain in Toronto, former Leaf Nazem Kadri now plays for the Colorado Avalanche. Of course, fans will recall that Kadri missed time because of suspension in both the 2018 and 2019 Boston/Toronto playoff series.
The Original Six rivals have faced off 674 times in their history. The Bruins won 289 of those games, and the Leafs won 277. The all-time series has produced 98 ties to date.
Tonight’s game in Toronto marks the beginning of a home-and-home series. The teams will play again Tuesday night at TD Garden.
To say that David Pastrnak has started off strong would be an understatement. In the last two games alone, Pastrnak has scored six goals, including a four-goal performance on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks in Boston.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, Pastrnak may be providing a bit too much of the offense right now. After Thursday’s game, Cassidy commented that the Bruins would have won the game if there was more secondary scoring.
Bruins Projected Lineup
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Coyle – Kuhlman
Heinen – Lindholm – Ritchie
Wagner – Kuraly – Backes
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Clifton
Maple Leafs Projected Lineup
Andreas Johnsson – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev – Alexander Kerfoot – Mitchell Marner
Trevor Moore – Jason Spezza – Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov – Nicholas Shore – Frederik Gauthier
Morgan Rielly – Cody Ceci
Jake Muzzin – Tyson Barrie
Martin Marincin – Justin Holl
WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with Puck Drop at 7 p.m.
WHERE TO WATCH: NESN, NHL Network, CBC, SN1
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