The Boston Bruins open their 2016-17 NHL season on the road Thursday with a matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
The Bruins will be a bit shorthanded with center Patrice Bergeron and defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller unable to play because of injuries. This will allow young players, such as defensemen Rob O’Gara and Brandon Carlo, to receive valuable experience at the pro level.
Tuukka Rask will start in net for Boston. He didn’t play as well as expected last season — his .915 save percentage was the lowest of his career as a starter — but he’s still one of the better goalies in the league.
Two players to keep an eye on for the Blue Jackets are Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. These are young, talented defensemen who Columbus hopes anchors its blue line for a long time. They’ll play in front of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, whose save percentage has decreased in each of the last three seasons since his Vezina Trophy-winning 2012-13 campaign.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for both teams.
BOSTON BRUINS (0-0-0)
Brad Marchand — David Backes — David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner — David Krejci — Danton Heinen
Matt Beleskey — Austin Czarnik — Jimmy Hayes
Dominic Moore — Riley Nash — Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara — Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug — Rob O’Gara
John-Michael Liles — Colin Miller
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (0-0-0)
Boone Jenner — Brandon Dubinsky — Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad — Sam Gagner — Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell — Alexander Wennberg — Oliver Bjorkstrand
Matt Calvert — William Karlsson — Josh Anderson
Zach Werenski — Seth Jones
Ryan Murray — David Savard
Jack Johnson — Markus Nutivaara
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images