By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins are getting a boost and a half to their backend for Tuesday's head-to-head with the Carolina Hurricanes, as defenseman Torey Krug, who missed the first 11 games of the season with an ankle ailment, will make his season debut.
And after a delayed start to his camp due to recovery to that same ankle, which was injured in the Black and Gold's second-round series loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, this is basically the first real game of Krug's season in every possible way.
"I think he's starting over a little bit," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy acknowledged. "I think this is like game one for him essentially from last year. He missed the end - well only a couple of games. But for him like I said that's why we have to keep an eye on him, expect some level of rust."
On the heels of a career-best 59-point campaign last season, Krug will bring an added offensive punch to a Boston blue line that's had a noticeably difficult time generating offense the other way, especially in the absence of second-year pro Charlie McAvoy (upper-body). And though Krug is the first to admit that his skating game is not at 100 percent just yet, his biggest impact will certainly come on the man advantage, where the Bruins have gone just 3-for-15 in their six road games.
"He's a difference maker when he's on the ice, especially on the power-play," Patrice Bergeron said. "He is the quarterback and he kind of makes the plays and stuff happen out there. Really happy to see him back and he looks great out there."
The Hurricanes, for what it's worth, come into play with the second-worst penalty kill in the league (67.6 percent).
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 30, 2018
Jaroslav Halak will get the start in the Boston crease.
The 33-year-old stopped all 26 shots thrown his way in a 3-0 win over the Flyers this year, and has grabbed points in all of his Boston starts to date by way of a 3-0-2 record on the year. Halak's .945 save percentage is the second-best in the NHL.
The Hurricanes are 6-4-1 on the season under new head coach Rod Brind'Amour, and come into action as the league's top possession club, with a 61.25 Corsi-For percentage. Forward Sebastian Aho is leading the charge up front, too, with the third-most assists (12) in the league this season. Ex-Bruin defender Dougie Hamilton has 47 shots on goal through 11 games.
Here are the complete projected lines and pairings for the Bruins...
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen - David Krejci - Jake DeBrusk
Ryan Donato - Joakim Nordstrom - Anders Bjork
Chris Wagner - Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug - John Moore
Jeremy Lauzon - Steven Kampfer
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association since 2013. 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.