David Pastrnak is expected to see NHL action for the first time in more than two months Friday as the Boston Bruins visit the New Jersey Devils.
Pastrnak recently played in two games for the Providence Bruins and another four for his native Czech Republic in the 2016 World Junior Championships, but the 19-year-old winger has not suited up for Boston since Oct. 31 as he recovered from a fractured foot.
The Bruins on Thursday recalled Pastrnak from the American Hockey League, and he is expected to join Loui Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron on Boston’s top line against New Jersey.
“He’s been out for a while, and we shouldn’t expect him to come here and all of a sudden turn things around for us,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Friday morning, via BostonBruins.com. “I think the team’s got to do it as a whole.”
Boston has dropped five of its last six games and, even with Pastrnak likely returning, still will be without two of its top forwards for its first trip to the Prudential Center this season. Center David Krejci remains on injured reserve with an upper body injury, and winger Brad Marchand will serve the final game of his three-game suspension Friday night.
Defenseman Adam McQuaid also will not suit up for the B’s after an illegal hit from behind during Tuesday’s loss to the Washington Capitals landed him on IR. The NHL on Wednesday suspended Capitals forward Zach Sill two games for the hit.
New Jersey also is dealing with a myriad injuries and on Friday recalled forwards Paul Thompson and Jim O’Brien and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani from the AHL’s Albany Devils. Thompson, a University of New Hampshire product, has yet to appear in an NHL game.
Jonas Gustavsson, who backstopped the Bruins to a 2-1 shootout win over the Devils on Dec. 20, is expected to start in net Friday as Boston kicks off a five-game road trip.
Here are Friday’s projected lines and pairings, as reported by the teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (20-14-4)
Loui Eriksson — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Brett Connolly
Frank Vatrano — Joonas Kemppainen — Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo — Max Talbot — Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara — Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg — Colin Miller
Torey Krug — Kevan Miller
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (20-16-5)
Jiri Tlusty — Travis Zajac — Kyle Palmieri
Sergei Kalinin — Adam Henrique — Lee Stempniak
Stefan Matteau — Jim O’Brien — Paul Thompson
Bobby Farnham — Stephen Gionta — Jordin Tootoo
Andy Greene — Damon Severson
Marc-Andre Gragnani — Adam Larsson
Eric Gelinas — John Merrill
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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