Jimmy Hayes is expected to have two new linemates when he takes the ice Wednesday night in Philadelphia,
Hayes, who has spent the majority of the season on the Boston Bruins’ third line, reportedly skated on the team’s top line Tuesday alongside left wing Brad Marchand and center Patrice Bergeron as the Bruins prepared to visit the Flyers for the first time this season.
The Boston native has endured a few lengthy slumps during his first few months in black and gold, but he’s turned it on of late, scoring five goals in his last six games. Hayes’ 10 goals this season rank fifth on the team behind only Bergeron, Marchand, Loui Eriksson and David Krejci.
“It’s one of the reasons we got him,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Tuesday, via the Boston Herald. “What we saw from him in the past is that he’s really good in tight around the net, tipping pucks, shooting pucks and his big body was another big reason for bringing him in. As long as he’s giving us that, he’s being a good player for us.”
David Pastrnak, who has one goal in three games since returning from a fractured foot, is expected to take Hayes’ usual spot on the third line against Philadelphia.
The Flyers enter Wednesday on a three-game winning streak — scoring four goals in each game — while the Bruins have lost seven of their last nine and two in a row.
The matchup will represent a homecoming for former Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo, who will be playing his first game at the Wells Fargo Center since his offseason trade to the Bruins. Rinaldo has faced his old team once this season, and he quickly angered the Flyers’ fan base when his hit on Sean Couturier caused the young centerman to suffer a concussion and miss two weeks of action.
“I’m just hoping for some positivity (from the Flyers fans),” Rinaldo said, per the Herald. “I put my heart and soul into the team. I’d do that for any team, and I’m doing that for the Bruins now. But I put my heart and soul into the team and the city, so some positivity would be nice.”
Philadelphia will be forced to make do without stud rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who has been ruled out for the game with a lower body injury.
UPDATE (7:42 p.m. ET): The Bruins altered their lineup before the game, reinserting rookie winger Frank Vatrano on the third line and sitting Pastrnak. Vatrano was a healthy scratch Monday for the first time in his young NHL career.
Pastrnak is dealing with an upper body injury, according to the team.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (21-15-5)
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Jimmy Hayes
Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Loui Eriksson
Frank Vatrano — Joonas Kemppainen — Brett Connolly
Zac Rinaldo — Max Talbot — Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara — Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg — Colin Miller
Torey Krug — Kevan Miller
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (22-14-5)
Jakub Voracek — Claude Giroux — Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl — Sean Couturier — Brayden Schenn
Chris VandeVelde — Pierre-Edourard Bellemare — Ryan White
Matt Read — Scott Laughton — R.J. Umberger
Michael Del Zotto — Radko Gudas
Nick Schultz — Mark Streit
Yevgeni Medvedev — Brandon Manning
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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