For the fifth time this season, the Boston Bruins will face The Philadelphia Flyers however the settings are more special as both teams head to the beautiful outdoors at Lake Tahoe. The Bruins are familiar with playing in this climate as they have previously been in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette, and the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the two teams, there will be no roaring crowds or fireworks as COVID-19 protocols continue to be a reality.
The rink will be located on the 18th fairway of the golf course at Edgewood Tahoe Resort near the lake in Stateline, Nevada. For any hockey player, professional or not, having no fans will most likely feel like a throwback to younger years where one would gather up a bunch of friends and play some pond hockey. Professionally, the team itself has many players familiar with the outdoor settings. Many still suiting up with a Bruins uniform participated in the 2019 game at Notre Dame. Newcomers Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith each played in the 2016 and 2020 Winter Classics with their previous teams.
INJURY HITS THE BRUINS
Boston will have to juggle their lines a bit as both David Krejci and Kevan Miller are absent due to recent injuries. Matt Grzelcyk, Ondrej Kase, and Jakub Zboril are also out of the lineup. Here were this morning’s practice lines:
BACK TO WINNING FORM
The Boys in Black and Gold are looking to get back in the win column as they dropped their last two games. Despite winning all four matchups against the Flyers thus far, expect Philly to come hard against the Bruins as they look to win their first game facing the B’s. Boston will look to win in regulation as they won two out of four games in either OT or a shootout against Philly. Tuukka Rask will get the start in net for Boston. The Flyers will be without some key players: Captain Claude Giroux, Scott Laughton, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, and Justin Braun (COVID-19 protocol). Expect Carter Hart in the net for Philly. Boston has outscored the Flyers by 11-3 in the third period.
FOR THE RECORD
Both teams will be vying for the top position in the East Division with Boston leading it with a 10-3-2 record. Philly is a close second with an 8-3-3 record. The Bruins are now fourth in the league while the Flyers are 13th. Key players to watch for Boston are the first line as Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak lead the team for goals and points. Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, and David Krejci lead the team in assists.
Philly is also looking to bounce back after a 2-3 shoot-out loss to the New York Rangers. James van Riemsdyk and Joel Farabee lead the team in goals and points while van Riemsdyk, Giroux, and Voracek lead the team in assists.
WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH: Sunday, February 21st, 2021 with puck drop at 7:30 pm on NBCSN
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Featured image courtesy of Bruins Twitter