By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
David Krejci, who missed the final two games of the preseason due to a lower-body injury sustained in a Sept. 23 preseason tilt against the Flyers, is officially considered a game-time decision for tonight’s season-opening game in Dallas.
“Getting closer, felt better today than yesterday. Going to talk to the trainers and make a decision for tonight,” Krejci said after the morning skate. “It’s kind of hard to find a balance but obviously first game you want to be out there with your teammates. You never want to miss a game, but at the same time, gotta make the decision that’s best for myself and my teammates.”
If Krejci is good to go, he will center a second line with Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman on the wings. This line logged some time together during both the regular season and playoffs last season, and had some success, as the Bruins outshot opponents 82-59 and outscored the opposition 11-4 in 126:59 of five-on-five with the DeBrusk-Krejci-Kuhlman group on the ice. And the B’s are hoping that Kuhlman, who recorded four goals and eight points in 19 games between the regular season and postseason, can seize the opportunity earned through that sample size and solidify their top-six out of the gate.
Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask gets the start in the Boston net.
Rask is coming off a 27-13-5 and .912 regular season in 2018-19, and was Boston’s best player in their run to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, with 15 wins and a .934 save percentage in 24 games.
Dallas will counter with Ben Bishop. The 6-foot-7 Bishop had a career-best .934 save percentage in 46 games with the Stars last year, and made a ridiculous 52 saves in his team’s Game 7 double-overtime loss to the Blues in the second round last year.
There will be a notable new face in Dallas green (‘sup, City & Colour?) Thursday night, too, as this will be the Stars debut for free agent addition Joe Pavelski. The 35-year-old headed to The Big D after six straight seasons of at least 22 goals and 64 points with the Sharks. Pavelski scored 38 goals and 64 points in 75 appearances for San Jose last season.
“We’re going to have to be ready to compete. [Our] guys coming out of training camp, haven’t played a lot of games,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted after his team’s skate. “That’s one of the biggest challenges for them; the urgency level goes up a lot. We’ve got to be ready for it. We’ve got a veteran group, hopefully they are.”
The Bruins are 1-1-0 in Opening Nights under Cassidy.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – David Backes
Sean Kuraly – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton