On the second leg of a back-to-back that began with last night's 3-1 win over the New York Islanders, the Boston Bruins are giving David Backes a rest for tonight's head-to-head with the New York Rangers.
Backes' rest, of course, means that Danton Heinen will get another chance to show that his reset worked.
“Three games in four nights, back-to-back; I thought the heavier teams were Washington and the Islanders,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the decision to scratch Backes. “Danton Heinen, I think he helps us win games with his overall play. His offense hasn’t been where we wanted, or maybe expected, but we certainly don’t want him to lose his edge."
The 23-year-old Heinen, scratched in two straight games, has tallied just six goals and 13 points through 49 games this season, and has looked every bit like a player that's entirely too deep in his own head at this point.
"It's natural to think about it and let it fill space in your head," Heinen admitted. "But I've been trying to focus on being good in other aspects and just trying not to overthink it and believe that it's gonna come."
The Bruins will give the start to Jaroslav Halak. The 33-year-old Halak has struggled of late, with just one victory in his last six decisions, and with an .866 save percentage over that stretch.
The Rangers will counter with Henrik Lundqvist.
This is the second of three head-to-heads between the B's and Blueshirts this season. The Rangers, who knocked Tuukka Rask out of action in the first meeting, won the first one by a 3-2 final on Jan. 19.
Here are the complete expected lines and pairings for the B's...
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Peter Cehlarik - David Krejci - Jake DeBrusk
Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari - Chris Wagner
Danton Heinen - Trent Frederic - Joakim Nordstrom
Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
Matt Grzelcyk - Charlie McAvoy