Few teams have had success this season against the Boston Bruins, and it’s tough envisioning the Ottawa Senators being the group that brings the runaway train to a halt.
The Sens will be in Boston on Saturday night for a tilt with the B’s, who haven’t lost in regulation since Oct. 10. Ottawa, meanwhile, sits at the basement of the NHL, which is where many suspected they would be when the season began.
Due largely to injuries, the Bruins will shake up the lineup a little bit in their first game since Tuesday. Brett Ritchie, like Joakim Nordstrom, is out with an infection, and Peter Cehlarik was called up as a result. Cehlarik will skate on the third line opposite Anders Bjork, with Charlie Coyle centering the two. Danton Heinen will remain on the second line right wing and David Backes the fourth.
This will be the second game in the NHL this season for Cehlarik, who was called up for Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers and sent down the next day.
“The reason we brought him back was A: he went back down (to the AHL) and played well again,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on Saturday. “And B: I don’t know that it was the best opportunity to — I don’t know if we put him in the best position to succeed the other night. He’s playing more of an energy role with Backes and (Sean) Kuraly, now he goes more in a situation where he’s probably a better fit with like a Coyle and Bjork where it’s a little more offensive-minded role in terms of rush and how you’re going to create offense. So we’ll see how he does. Obviously, listen, the onus is always on the player to perform no matter where you’re in the lineup, but I think tonight will allow him to be in a little better spot and hopefully he responds.”
One day after skating as the third line right wing in practice, Connor Clifton will be a healthy scratch, with seventh defenseman Steven Kampfer set to appear in his second game of the season.
“That’s just a coach’s decision to keep Steve, similar to what we did earlier.” Cassidy said. “Cliffy I think has played better since he’s been put back in more consistent, but we want to keep Steve sharp.”
Tuukka Rask will be in net for the Bruins, with Craig Anderson expected to get the nod for the visitors.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (9-1-2)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–Danton Heinen
Anders Bjork–Charlie Coyle–Peter Cehlarik
Chris Wagner–Sean Kuraly–David Backes
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug–Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk–Steven Kampfer
OTTAWA SENATORS (3-7-1)
Brady Tkachuk–Logan Brown–Anthony Duclair
Vladislav Namestnikov–Chris Tierney–Tyler Ennis
Nick Paul–Jean-Gabriel Pageau–Connor Brown
Filip Chlapik–J.C. Beaudin–Scott Sabourin
Thomas Chabot–Nikita Zaitsev
Erik Brannstrom–Ron Hainsey
Mark Borowiecki–Dylan DeMelo
Thumbnail photo via James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports Images