By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins will get their true fourth line back in action on Wednesday night, as Joakim Nordstrom’s taken care of the allergy issues that have put him on the shelf for the last four contests and will once again line up to the left of Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner for the B’s rivalry night showdown with the Montreal Canadiens.
“At the end of the day, that’s an important line for us and has been for two years, three years, whoever’s been on it,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We expect a certain standard of play from them, who they’re playing against.”
While Boston’s ideal fourth line hasn’t gelled like they did last year, Nordstrom has certainly done his part, with four goals and seven points (and 27 blocked shots) in 39 contests this season. And though he’s the first to admit that ‘health’ has been his biggest issue this season, Nordstrom didn’t hide from the things that he believes his line could do better this season.
“We want to be good, we want to be reliable, solid defensively, playing with the puck and being strong on pucks down low,” said Nordstrom.
With Sean Kuraly off the third line, Danton Heinen will move back to the right side of the Black and Gold’s third line with Anders Bjork and Charlie Coyle. Heinen finished Sunday’s loss with three shots on goal in just over 12 minutes of action.
Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon was recalled from Providence and will serve the second and final game of his two-game ban for an illegal check to the head of the Coyotes’ Derek Stepan last Saturday.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, will be without captain and No. 1 defenseman Shea Weber for next this contest and for the next four to six weeks overall due to an apparent ankle injury. There’s even been some talk of this injury being something that impacts Weber beyond the four-to-six week window. Weber leads all Montreal defenders with 13 goals and a plus-8 rating.
Ilya Kovalchuk will also skate on Boston ice for the first time since the B’s chose not to pursue him as a free agent following his contract termination with the Kings. Kovalchuk, who signed a two-way deal for the league minimum with the Canadiens, has six goals and 12 points in 18 contests with the Habs this season.
This will be the conclusion of the 2019-20 season series between the B’s and Canadiens. The Bruins have won two of three head-to-heads thus far, including their last meeting on Dec. 1, and have outscored Montreal 15-7 in the season series.
Here are the complete lines and pairings for the B’s…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman
Anders Bjork – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – John Moore