By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
For the second time in three nights, the Boston Bruins will find themselves skating against the Washington Capitals in preseason action. And after the Bruins took the first game by a 2-1 shootout final on Sunday, Tuesday’s scene shifts to Washington, where the Bruins’ stateside camp will go against a relatively loaded Capital squad.
Among those playing for the Capitals? Nicklas Backstrom, TJ Oshie, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, and Braden Holtby. This comes with the Bruins deciding to leave Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, and Danton Heinen back in Boston, mind you.
The complete Black and Gold roster for tonight’s game goes as follows…
Forwards: Anton Blidh, Austin Fyten, Cameron Hughes, Joona Koppanen, Karson Kuhlman, Sean Kuraly, Jakub Lauko, Mark McNeill, Cedric Pare, Tanner Pond, Zach Senyshyn, Lee Stempniak, and Daniel Winnik.
Sean Kuraly makes his preseason debut, and is actually the lone Bruins regular from a season ago slated to skate tonight.
Kuraly, who totaled six goals and 14 points in 75 games last season, is a dark horse candidate for the B’s third-line center spot, and is looking to build on a 12-game postseason run that saw him shuffled around and with two goals and four points. A center that skates with a violent, often-reckless speed that’s tough to match on a shift-by-shift basis, Kuraly talked about the subtle adjustments he can make to become a more effective and dependable player in all three zones.
That starts with finding a way to shine without NHL-caliber players riding on his wings.
Lee Stempniak, with the Bruins on a professional tryout, also makes his preseason debut tonight. The 33-year-old Stempniak is back in Boston after a two-year excursion to Carolina, where he posted a 40-point season with the Hurricanes in Year 1, but struggled to be much of anything in an injury-plagued 2018 year that limited him to just 37 games.
One of the B’s deadline additions in 2016, Stempniak posted three goals and 10 points in 19 games with the Bruins back then, and is hoping he can rediscover that scoring touch en route to an NHL contract with the B’s. Some more largely random Stempniak stuff: He’s lived in Boston since graduating college, said he never wanted to leave the Bruins after that 2016 season, and worked tirelessly on his skating game this summer, even putting in some work with the same coach Zdeno Chara goes to.
It’ll be interesting to see how the 18-year-old Jakub Lauko continues to adjust to the NHL. The 2018 third-rounder was a definite standout in Sunday’s victory over the Capitals, but with the benefit of last change going to the Capitals and with Washington now aware of his game, there’s no doubt Lauko will have to up his game in hopes of staying stateside.
Defensemen: Connor Clifton, Olivier Galipeau, Cody Goloubef, Emil Johansson, Steven Kampfer, Jeremy Lauzon, and Wiley Sherman.
It’s been six years since Steven Kampfer last donned the Spoked-B.
A member of the 2010-11 team that won the Stanley Cup (though Kampfer did not play in any postseason games or enough regular-season games to get his name engraved on the Cup), Kampfer’s second stint in Boston comes as part of the return for Adam McQuaid, and after 118 NHL games since the Bruins traded him to Minnesota for Greg Zanon back in 2012. That 118-game run has featured stops with the Wild, Panthers, and most recently, the Rangers, for whom he played 22 games last year.
Now, it’s unlikely that Kampfer cracks the NHL roster out of camp (Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy seemingly tipped his hand here, noting that the Bruins were going to enter the regular season with seven defenders), but in the event of an injury, Kampfer will be the first man up. In other words, you’d like to see something out of his game this month, if only to worry just a little less.
Goaltenders: Kyle Keyser and Dan Vladar.
It’s Vladar Time for the Bruins tonight.
And I must admit, I’m a bit of a honk for Vladar. I really do believe that Vladar, who stands at a towering 6-foot-5 in net, is going to emerge as the P-Bruins’ ace in the crease this season. He was seemingly solid in his four-game cameo with Providence last season (2-2-0 record, .924 save percentage), and the Bruins are going to make a concerted effort to develop him this year.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.