Frank Vatrano grew up watching the Boston Bruins. On Saturday, he’ll play for them for the first time.
Vatrano, who was recalled Friday from Providence, is set to make his NHL debut as the Bruins visit the Montreal Canadiens.
âItâs honestly a dream come true,â the 21-year-old forwardÂ told reporters SaturdayÂ at morning skate, via BostonBruins.com. âI donât think anything has really settled down yet —Â itâs such a surreal feeling still.Â The Bruins-Canadiens rivalry is something Iâve been watching since Iâve been growing up, so hopefully I can be a part of it.â
Vatrano, who hails from East Longmeadow, Mass., and finished his collegiate career at UMass, is expected to begin the game on Boston’s second line alongsideÂ left wing Loui Eriksson and center David Krejci.
He and the rest of the Bruins will by trying to put the puck past another Massachusetts native: Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon. Since making his NHL debut earlier this season, Condon is 5-0-1 with an league-leading 1.50 goals against average. Saturday will be his first taste of the B’s-Habs rivalry.
The Bruins, who are looking to snap a six-game losing streak against the Canadiens, are expected to start backup Jonas Gustavsson in net. Gustavsson is a perfect 3-0-0 this season, and usual starter Tuukka Rask traditionally has struggled against Montreal (3-14-3, 2.74 GAA, .906 save percentage).
Here are Saturday’s projected lines and pairings, as reported by the teams:
UPDATE (6:57 p.m. ET): The Bruins made a few last-minute changes to their lineup. Tyler Randell and Joe Morrow are out, and Zac Rinaldo and Zach Trotman are in. It’ll be Trotman’s first game since Boston’s season opener.
BOSTON BRUINSÂ (6-5-1)
Brad MarchandÂ — Patrice Bergeron —Â Brett Connolly
Loui ErikssonÂ — David Krejci —Â Frank Vatrano
Matt BeleskeyÂ — Ryan Spooner —Â Jimmy Hayes
Zac RinaldoÂ — Joonas Kemppainen — Max Talbot
Zdeno Chara — ColinÂ Miller
Torey Krug — Adam McQuaid
Zach TrotmanÂ — KevanÂ Miller
MONTREAL CANADIENSÂ (12-2-1)
Max Pacioretty —Â Tomas Plekanec — Brendan Gallagher
Lars Eller — Alex Galchenyuk — Devante Smith-Pelly
Tomas Fleischmann — David Desharnais — Dale Weise
Paul ByronÂ — Torrey Mitchell — Brian Flynn
Andrei Markov —Â P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin —Â Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu —Â Tom Gilbert
Thumbnail photo via Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports Images