The Boston Bruins will have to answer a few questions before they take on the Washington Capitals for the first time this season.
The teams are set to face off Tuesday night at Capital One Arena, but the Bruins don’t still don’t know who’ll comprise their third defensive pairing. Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort both had issues with their respective COVID-19 tests, and their availability for Monday’s clash was unknown after morning skate. If one can’t go, expect Urho Vaakanainen to take his place. If Forbort and Clifton are out, John Moore will partner Vaakanainen.
After missing the last two games due to a lower-body injury, Charlie McAvoy participated in morning skate. He likely will assume his role on Boston’s top defensive pairing.
Elswhere, Nick Foligno will miss the game due to the lower-body injury he suffered Saturday. Karson Kuhlman returns from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol to take his spot as the left wing on the third line.
Linus Ullmark will start as the Bruins’ goaltender for the second consecutive game.
Here are the teams’ projected lines and defensive pairings:
BOSTON BRUINS (17-11-2)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Craig Smith
Taylor Hall–Erik Haula–David Pastrnak
Karson Kulhman–Charlie Coyle–Oskar Steen
Anton Blidh–Trent Frederic–Curtis Lazar
Matt Grzelcyk–Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly–Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort–Connor Clifton/Urho Vaakanainen–John Moore
WASHINGTON CAPITALS (20-7-9)
Alex Ovechkin–Evgeny Kuznetsov–T.J. Oshie
Daniel Sprong–Nicklas Backstrom–Tom Wilson
Connor McMichael–Lars Eller–Conor Sheary
Carl Hagelin–Nic Dowd–Garnet Hathaway
Martin Fehervary–John Carlson
Trevor Van Riemsdyk–Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin–Justin Schultz
These projected lines and defensive pairings are presented by Berkshire Bank, the official bank of NESN’s Boston Bruins coverage.