By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak will join a relatively impressive club on Tuesday night, as the Boston backup will take the ice for the 500th game of his NHL career and become just the 74th goaltender in league history to reach such a milestone.
A sneakily well-traveled goaltender, there’s no way to truly measure Halak’s worth to the Bruins since signing with the team in 2018, as he’s totaled 28 wins and a .924 save percentage in 47 starts with the Bruins. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is more than aware of Halak’s value to the team, too, as he said he believes that Halak could still be a No. 1 goaltender in this league.
In other lineup news, Boston will remain without center Patrice Bergeron (lower-body) for the fifth straight contest, while Brett Ritchie (upper-body) will also remain on the shelf, but is considered healthy enough to play after dealing with some lingering effects of an infection that knocked him out of action for an extended stretch earlier this season.
The team also returned forward Brendan Gaunce to the AHL, and recalled defenseman John Moore from his conditioning loan with the P-Bruins.
Carolina, meanwhile, comes to TD Garden on the heels of a 3-2 win over the Lightning on Nov. 30, and have victories in seven of their last 10 contests overall. It’s been an impressive season from ex-Bruin defender Dougie Hamilton, too, as the puck-mover returns to The Hub with 10 goals and 28 points in 27 games this season.
This will be the first head-to-head between these sides since the Bruins swept Rod Brind’Amour’s club in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. The Bruins won two of their three regular-season head-to-heads with the ‘Canes last season.
Here are the complete expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen
Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – David Backes
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton