Jonas Gustavsson will have one last chance to prove his worth to Boston Bruins management, and it’ll come Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Gustavsson, who is battling with Jeremy Smith for the Bruins’ backup goalie job, will start in net and is expected to play all 60 minutes against the New York Rangers in Boston’s second-to-last game of the preseason.
?Ever since you started playing pro, you always have to prove yourself out there — doesn?t matter what the situation is,? the 30-year-old told reporters Wednesday morning, via BostonBruins.com. ?You have to prove that you want to play and that you deserve ice time and all that, so that?s no news.
?I?m just going to see it as any other game, and go out and have fun and try and win the game.?
Smith, who finished with 22 saves last Thursday in a 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers, will back up Gustavsson.
Head coach Claude Julien confirmed Wednesday that No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask would start Friday’s preseason finale, meaning Wednesday’s game will be the final step in identifying Rask’s No. 2.
With many of the Bruins’ regulars remaining back in Boston, the matchup with the Rangers also could go a long way toward determining who will start on the team’s fourth line to begin the season.
Chris Kelly — who did not make the trip to New York — likely will occupy one of those spots, but the other two remain up for grabs, with Zac Rinaldo, Joonas Kemppainen, Max Talbot, Brian Ferlin, Tyler Randell, Anton Blidh and Alexander Khokhlachev all still in the running.
Here’s a full rundown of Wednesday’s expected line combinations — featuring all seven of the aforementioned fourth-line hopefuls — and defensive pairings, as reported by the team:
Jimmy Hayes — Ryan Spooner — Brett Connolly
Anton Blidh — Joonas Kemppainen — Max Talbot
Zac Rinaldo — Ben Sexton — Tyler Randell
Brandon DeFazio — Alexander Khokhlachev — Brian Ferlin
Matt Irwin — Adam McQuaid
Chris Breen — Zach Trotman
Tommy Cross — Colin Miller
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images