The training camp practices are done, as is Thursday’s exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Next for the Boston Bruins? The Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in the first game of the Eastern Conference round-robin tournament.
Every week since the start of training camp, we’ve predicted what the Bruins roster will be when the puck drops Sunday. And while it’s mostly come into focus, a few things remain unclear just two days out from the opening contest.
But alas, it’s our job/duty/obligation to take a stab at it. So away we go.
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Take a deep breath, Pastrnak is in Toronto, so the Bruins’ top line will stay as it has. Also, it sounds as if Marchand will be OK after an injury scare Thursday night.
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–Jack Studnicka
Hands up if you predicted Jack Studnicka on the second line right wing three weeks ago. He seems like the front-runner for that spot right now but probably is the last forward in.
Nick Ritchie–Charlie Coyle–Anders Bjork
Ritchie hasn’t been a regular participant in practice in a week, and he just returned to skating Thursday morning. If he’s in game shape, our guess is this is how things will shake out, but we also wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up a healthy scratch against Philly so that he has a few more days to get his legs under him.
Joakim Nordstrom–Sean Kuraly–Chris Wagner
If Ritchie doesn’t play, then Kuraly goes up to the third line left wing, where he spent most of camp, and Par Lindholm centers this unit. If not, the trio that spent much of this season together and was one of the league’s better fourth lines gets back together.
Forward Healthy Scratches
Par Lindholm, Karson Kuhlman
It’s probably more likely Lindholm sees game action before Kuhlman, but who knows.
Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Ondrej Kase
Kase only makes this list because we have no clue where he is. Frederic and Senyshyn have yet to really mix in with the top four lines, so it’s safe to consider them simply depth options.
First defensive pairing
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
Second defensive pairing
Torey Krug–Brandon Carlo
Still not surprising.
Third defensive pairing
Matt Grzelcyk–Jeremy Lauzon
Lauzon has earned this spot, and short of an injury or a big step back, he’s going to keep it.
John Moore, Connor Clifton
Both have been outplayed by Lauzon this season, but if we’re taking guesses here, Moore is the seventh defenseman and Clifton is the eighth.
Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril
The Bruins have so much defensive depth that something will have gone incredibly wrong if either get into a game right now.
Remember last season in the Eastern Conference finals when the Hurricanes kept going back and forth between Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney, then before Game 3 Bruce Cassidy joked “Our (goalie) is gonna be Rask).” Good times. He should do that again Sunday.
Boston’s goalie is gonna be Rask. Thus, Halak will remain the backup.
Maxime Lagace, Dan Vladar
Depth options, obviously.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports