BOSTON — Seth Griffith has an opportunity to impress the Bruins coaching staff and take a step toward making the NHL roster in Wednesday night’s preseason home opener against the Washington Capitals.
Griffith has skated with Bruins veterans Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand throughout training camp, occupying the spot previously held by unsigned restricted free agent Reilly Smith.
“He’s been good,” Marchand said of Griffith. “Practice is different than games, but so far in practice he’s been really good. He sees the ice very well, he’s very quick. He sees the plays and he’s able to make them, hopefully that will translate into the game tonight.”
Griffith scored 20 goals in 69 games for the Providence Bruins last season, and his 50 points ranked second on the team. He fills the Bruins’ need for a right-handed shooting winger who can score goals, play a physical game and be responsible defensively. His high hockey IQ makes him a good fit alongside veterans such as Marchand and Bergeron because he’s able to think the game and understand situations faster than other young players.
The Bruins selected Griffith with the 131st overall pick (fifth round) in the 2012 NHL draft. He’s one of several forwards competing for an NHL roster spot in training camp and the preseason — a group that includes Matt Fraser, Justin Florek, Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and others.
“I can’t say much about Seth because I haven’t seen him in a real game situation,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “He’s shown good skills, he’s shown a lot of good things, so we’re excited to watch him play.”
Griffith did not play Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The Bruins lost 3-2 on a last-minute goal, falling to 0-1 in the preseason.
— These were the lines and pairings during drills at Wednesday morning’s skate. We might see them to start the game against Washington, but Krejci and Eriksson are not on the expected roster (see below).
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Seth Griffith
Justin Florek–Bracken Kearns–Jared Knight
Matt Lindblad–David Krejci–Alexander Fallstrom
Loui Eriksson–Alexander Khokhlachev–Ville Leino
Zdeno Chara–Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski–Adam McQuaid
Chris Breen–Zach Trotman
Tuukka Rask, Jeremy Smith
— Expected roster for Bruins-Capitals.
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Alex Fallstrom, Justin Florek, Simon Gagne, Seth Griffith, Bracken Kearns, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, Ville Leino, Matt Lindblad, Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner
Defensemen: Matt Bartkowski, Chris Breen, Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Adam McQuaid, Zach Trotman
Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Jeremy Smith
— Forwards David Pastrnak (shoulder), Gregory Campbell (mid-core) and Anthony Camara didn’t practice Wednesday.
–Adam McQuaid will play Wednesday night in his first game action since Jan. 19 on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“He’s looked good in practice, there’s no reason to believe he’s not going to be a decent player tonight,” Julien said. “I like his approach to camp so far.
“The injuries certainly have been an issue for him. It seems like he has to start from scratch every time. It doesn’t make it easy. When you play and you play a lot and you’re healthy, you get yourself on a roll and it’s been a while since he’s been able to do that.”
— Expect to see these Capitals players on the ice Wednesday night. You’ll notice the roster does not include superstar forwards Alexander Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom.
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Bruins fans should keep an eye on Calder Trophy candidate Evgeny Kuznetsov, who’s considered by many as one of the league’s top forward prospects.
— A link to a live stream of Bruins-Capitals can be found here.
Photo via Twitter/@OnTheForecheck