Boston Bruins

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 16: Matt Grzelcyk #48 of the Boston Bruins takes the puck in the overtime period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on January 16, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the game is played without fans. The New Jersey Devils defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In what’s been an insanely frustrating stop-and-start season constantly interrupted by injuries, Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will look to get his game rolling with a return to action Tuesday night in Buffalo.

For Grzelcyk, who has missed 18 of the Bruins’ 43 games to date in 2021, this latest comeback comes after an upper-body injury held the 5-foot-9 defender out of five straight contests. But the Bruins will look to get No. 48 rolling right out of the gate this time around, too, with Grzelcyk slated to skate opposite Charlie McAvoy on Boston’s top pairing.

Together for over 200 minutes this season, the Grzelcyk-McAvoy pairing has been straight-up dominant when together, with a 64.56 Corse-For percentage, a 147-58 shot advantage, and 109-60 edge in scoring chances. And, most importantly, the tandem has been on the ice for 12 goals for while surrendering just four behind them.

And Grzelcyk won’t be the only B’s defenseman returning to action, as the team will also bring Jakub Zboril back into the mix after a brief absence due to a non-COVID illness. Zboril will play on his off side opposite Jeremy Lauzon.

Tonight will also mark Taylor Hall’s first game back in Buffalo since his trade to the Bruins.¬†After scoring just two goals and 19 points in 37 games with the Sabres, Hall has come to life with the Bruins, with two goals and an assist in four games with the Bruins. (Hall needed just 35 minutes to match his goal total in almost 700 minutes of work with the Sabres.)

Tuukka Rask is expected to get the call in net. The 34-year-old Rask stopped 30-0f-33 in Sunday’s win over the Capitals, and enters action with a 10-4-2 record and .910 save percentage on the season.

The Sabres will counter with Dustin Tokarski. Tokarski is coming off First Star of the Week honors after posting a 2-1-1 record and .934 save percentage to help Buffalo pull off a couple of upset victories over the division’s best.

The Bruins enter this contest 3-0-0 against the Sabres in 2021.

Here’s tonight’s projected lineup…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith

Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk

Sean Kuraly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Wagner

Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton

Jeremy Lauzon – Jakub Zboril

Tuukka Rask