By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Wednesday’s rivalry showdown with the Flyers will come with another lineup tweak for the Bruins, as fourth-line sparkplug Anton Blidh will make his 2021 season debut on Boston’s fourth line.
“He’ll go in,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after his team’s morning skate. “Blidh’s gonna be a straight-line guy, helps kill penalties, brings some energy. Same with Sean [Kuraly]. It doesn’t change the style of how the line needs to play.”
With the Bruins for a seven-game cup of coffee last year, Blidh’s game leaves little to the imagination. He’s an all-out, full-tilt player whose main objective is to create chaos. You’ve seen that in his limited appearances with the Big B’s — the 25-year-old has 70 hits in 28 NHL games over four seasons — and the Swede is hoping that this latest opportunity presents him with his best opportunity to seize hold of a full-time NHL gig.
“I just want to make the NHL and hope this is my chance,” Blidh, a sixth-round pick of the Bruins in 2013 and with the organization since 2015, admitted. “It’s been a while since I’ve played a game. I think [I need] to just find the energy and get the legs going.”
“We’ve always valued [Blidh],” Cassidy said. “Had him in Providence years ago. He plays hard, he’s always gonna give you what he’s got. I thought he was good all around [last year], but then he got hurt and taken out of the mix, so let’s see where he’s at now.”
With Blidh in, Karson Kuhlman will sit as a healthy scratch. Demoted down to the fourth line after beginning his 2021 season on David Krejci’s wing, Kuhlman finished Monday with a team-low 5:33.
Tuukka Rask will get the start in the Boston net, and with the Bruins’ two-game set with the Sabres postponed to a later date, the expectation is that Rask will be in net for both contests in Philly.
Rask wasn’t at his best in a 19-of-23 losing performance against the Caps last Saturday, but was solid when he needed to be in an overtime win over the Flyers back in Boston last month, with 22 saves. Overall, the 33-year-old Rask has a 16-2-4 record and .930 save percentage in 22 career starts against the Flyers.
Carter Hart gets the call in the Philadelphia crease. Hart stopped 26-of-28 in a win over the Islanders last Saturday, and will look to bounce back from what was a horrendous showing against the Bruins, with 10 goals allowed on 69 shots against during his two-game series at TD Garden last month.
The Philadelphia Flyers also recalled forward Connor Bunnaman from the Taxi Squad and loaned forward Samuel Morin to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms ahead of tonight’s contest.
Here’s the complete lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Chris Wagner
Anton Blidh – Sean Kuraly – Anders Bjork
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Connor Clifton – Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril – Kevan Miller
We talked a lot about the Bruins before the game against the Flyers in the newest episode of the SideLines podcast. Have a listen below.