The Boston Bruins have dealt with several injuries on the blue line this season, but the Winnipeg Jets are in a much worse situation.
Winnipeg’s top four defensemen — Jacob Trouba, Mark Stuart, Tobias Enstrom and Zach Bogosian — all are injured and unavailable to head coach Paul Maurice for Friday night’s game against the Bruins at MTS Centre. The Jets made a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday to acquire depth defenseman Jay Harrison. It’s unclear if he’ll play Friday night.
The Bruins lineup was bolstered by the return of first-line center David Krejci in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild. Krejci is expected to play Friday and hasn’t played in back-to-back games since late October.
Here’s a quick Bruins-Jets preview.
TV, Radio Information: NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub
Season Series: 1-0 Boston (Bruins 2-1 OT win on Nov. 28)
Records: Boston (16-13-3, sixth in Atlantic), Winnipeg (16-10-6, fourth in Central)
Bruins Player To Watch: Patrice Bergeron ended a 12-game goal-less drought Wednesday and has tallied four points (one goal, three assists) with a plus-25 Corsi at 5-on-5 in the last five games. The veteran center ranks fourth in the NHL in faceoff percentage (57.8) and second in draws won (421). Expect him to dominate in the faceoff circle against a Jets team that ranks 23rd with a 48.0 faceoff percentage.
Jets Player To Watch: Mark Scheifele was enjoying a breakout campaign in 2013-14 until an injury in March derailed his season. He struggled to begin 2014-15 with just two points in October, but the seventh overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft has shown great improvement over the last two months.
Scheifele has three goals and three assists with nine shots in his last three games. His emergence into a reliable top-six center has helped Winnipeg score three or more goals in six of its seven games in December. Scheifele picked up an assist on Winnipeg’s only goal in a 2-1 loss versus Boston on Oct. 28.
Key Stat For Bruins: Boston is 8-4-0 with Krejci in the lineup and has won the last four games in which he has played. The Bruins average 3.25 goals scored when Krejci plays, compared to 2.00 goals per game when he doesn’t. Krejci has 10 points in 12 games this season.
Key Stat For Jets: The Jets are not a good third-period team. They are 0-7-3 when trailing after two periods and rank 29th in third-period goals scored with 19 in 32 games. The Bruins shouldn’t have too much trouble securing two points Friday night if they take a lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images