Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will keep his steady goaltending rotation rolling on Saturday, as it will be Tuukka Rask that gets the call in net in a 3 p.m. tilt against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden.
Now, thinking that the Bruins have anything even close to a legitimate goaltending controversy four games into a season is completely insane. But it is worth noting that Rask is going to have to keep pace with what has been a white-hot start from Jaroslav Halak, as the 33-year-old Halak has the league’s top goals against average (1.18) and second-best save percentage (.961) through the first 10 days of the new season. Rask, meanwhile, bounced back with a 28-of-31 win over Ottawa on Monday, and earned praise from his head coach for his ability to be more ‘engaged’ and aggressive in his crease.
Up front, the Bruins will continue the Joakim Nordstrom The Second Liner Experiment, especially since Nordstrom scored his first goal of the season on Thursday night, and proved to be a reliable three-zone presence with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.
“It felt pretty good,” Nordstrom said of his first game with Boston’s second line. “I thought we had some good opportunities. We had the puck a lot, so you know, for being a first game, I think it’s definitely something we can build off of.”
But Nordstrom staying doesn’t mean that Ryan Donato will sit as a healthy scratch for the second game in a row, as Cassidy is likely going to slide the first-year full-time NHLer back into the mix somewhere on the B’s roster for this game.
“[Donato will] probably come in,” Cassidy admitted on Friday. “We’re trying not to keep young guys out for extended periods of time. It will happen. Eventually it will have to come around to some level of consistency, but I assume he’ll go in [Saturday]. We worked him into the second power play group today so that’s kind of what we’re looking at.”
If Cassidy stays true to his word, Danton Heinen seems like the obvious candidate to sit. Cassidy admitted that he believes Heinen is ‘fighting it’ right now, and he deployed the second-year winger just four times in the third period en route to a team-low 10:39 of time on ice in the victory. Heinen has zero points and just two shots on goal through four games this year.
This will be the first of four 2018-19 meetings between the B’s and Red Wings. The Bruins swept last year’s season series 4-0, and outscored the Red Wings 15-10 over that stretch. Overall, the Bruins have defeated Detroit in 14 of their last 16 meetings.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Joakim Nordstrom – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk
Ryan Donato – David Backes – Anders Bjork
Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
John Moore – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Kevan Miller