Berkshire Bank Faceoff: Brad Marchand In, Brett Connolly Out For Bruins

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The Boston Bruins will have one of their most established forwards back in action Saturday as they visit the Arizona Coyotes.

Top-line winger Brad Marchand is expected to make his return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a concussion. He skated with usual linemates Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson at Saturday’s morning skate, according to the team.

“I can’t wait to get back and play,” Marchand told reporters Saturday morning, via BostonBruins.com. “It’s always tough when you have to watch and especially when you’re uncertain about when you’ll get back. So, happy the day’s finally here, and looking forward to playing (Saturday night).”

Marchand’s impending return forced head coach Claude Julien to scratch one forward from the lineup, and winger Brett Connolly appears to be the odd man out. Connolly skated on the third line in Boston’s first two games before shifting up to the first unit in Marchand’s absence.

Each member of the Bruins’ revamped third line (Chris Kelly, Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes) scored a goal during Thursday’s 6-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

“It’s part of the business and for me,” said Connolly, who has one assist and six shots on goal through four games this season. “Still looking to fit in somewhere on a line and just got to keep working and things will work out.”

After taking Thursday night off, Tuukka Rask is expected to start in net against the Coyotes, who are off to a surprising 3-1-0 start after finishing with the NHL’s second-worst record last season.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Saturday night, as reported by the teams:

BOSTON BRUINS (1-3-0)
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Chris Kelly — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo — Joonas Kemppainen — Tyler Randell

Zdeno Chara — Kevan Miller
Torey Krug — Adam McQuaid
Tommy Cross — Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

ARIZONA COYOTES (3-1-0)
Max Domi — Antoine Vermette — Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder — Martin Hanzal — Anthony Duclair
Joe Vitale — Brad Richardson — Shane Doan
Kyle Chipchura — Boyd Gordon — Steve Downie

Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Zbynek Michalek
Nicklas Grossmann — Connor Murphy
Klas Dahlbeck — Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand during a game against Arizona.

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Berkshire Bank Foundation

During the 2017-2018 regular season, Berkshire Bank Foundation will donate $100 for each Bruins assist to three local non-profit organizations. Click here to see official rules.