Bruins giving some key players night off vs. Wild
A week away from the start of their postseason run and locked into the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division playoff bracket, the Boston Bruins are clearly in full-on rest mode entering tonight’s game in Minnesota.
That will see the Bruins skate without top-six forwards David Krejci and Brad Marchand, as well as top-pairing defensemen Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy, with an NBA-like ‘rest’ designation. Bottom-six banger Chris Wagner will also sit out tonight’s Bruins-Wild, but that’s due to a lingering lower-body injury, according to Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.
It’s all part of a plan that will see the Bruins shuffling their nightly lineup quite a bit over the next three days.
“I suspect those guys will go back in Saturday and we’ll look at some other players for that game depending on how tonight goes,” Cassidy, whose team concludes their regular-season schedule Saturday afternoon against the Lightning, offered.
But their rest will mean chances and elevated roles for countless Boston skaters.
Among those getting a great chance with that aforementioned rest for others: 2015 first-round pick Zach Senyshyn.
The last skater from that first-round class to make his NHL debut, Senyshyn comes to Boston with 14 goals and 24 points in 62 games for the P-Bruins this season, and with a ton of raw skill and speed to show the B’s front office.
“I definitely had to fine tune a couple things and really round out my game,” Senyshyn said of his growth in the minors. “I feel like with a lot of help from my coaches down in Providence that it’s gotten a lot better. I still hope to grow and take my game to the next level with a little bit of experience up here.”
“I hope he just goes out and plays a solid 200-foot game,” said Cassidy. “He’s a great skater, so put some pressure on the D, make them uncomfortable, attack off the wing. Whatever falls into place from there, we’ll wait and see.”
Jaroslav Halak gets the start in the Boston net. Halak surrendered five goals on 27 shots in a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings last Sunday, but enters play with a 21-11-4 record and .921 save percentage on the season.
The Wild counter with Alex Stalock. The Minny backup has struggled mightily and comes into play without a win since Jan. 17. Stalock allowed four goals on 27 shots in the Wild’s only prior game against the B’s this season.
Here are the full expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Jake DeBrusk – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Marcus Johansson – Charlie Coyle – Zach Senyshyn
Danton Heinen – Trent Frederic – Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom – Noel Acciari – David Backes
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Kevan Miller
Connor Clifton – Steven Kampfer