Ahead of their head-to-head with the NHL-best Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins had themselves a day with four moves in all.
Don Sweeney’s busy day included a waiver claim for then-Stars forward Gemel Smith, a reassignment to the minors for Connor Clifton, and move to the injured reserve for Kevan Miller. But the most important of the four was undoubtedly the activation of Charlie McAvoy, the B’s top-pairing defenseman that’s missed the last 20 games due to a concussion.
The 20-year-old McAvoy will skate in Boston’s pregame warmup at Amalie Arena and that a decision on his availability for tonight’s game will shortly follow. McAvoy last played in Oct. 18’s overtime loss to the Oilers, but would return to the Boston blue line having tallied one goal and six points in seven appearances this season.
McAvoy or not, the Bruins enter play as losers in two straight, which has left Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy to once again give his forward lines a significant shake-up with another attempted at generating some sort of offensive balance.
Cassidy will keep the hardworking Colby Cave between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, putting the pressure on the wingers to live up to their game and carry the line’s offensive firepower.
But elsewhere on the depth chart, Joakim Nordstrom has been reunited with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on Boston’s second line, Ryan Donato will skate with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (a healthy scratch in three straight games) and Noel Acciari on the third line, while Sean Kuraly centers a line featuring Danton Heinen and David Backes on the wings.
This will put Chris Wagner in the press box as a healthy scratch.
Tuukka Rask gets the call in net for the Bruins.
This will be the first of four head-to-heads to the Lightning this season. The Bruins took three of their four meetings with the Bolts last season, but were absolutely spanked by the Bolts in a five-game, second-round playoff series between the clubs. Tampa enters action with wins in four straight, eight of their last 10 overall, and in 11 of their 15 home games this year.
Here are the complete lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Colby Cave – David Pastrnak
Joakim Nordstrom – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk
Ryan Donato – Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson – Noel Acciari
Danton Heinen – Sean Kuraly – David Backes
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Steven Kampfer
Jeremy Lauzon – Matt Grzelcyk