BRIGHTON, Mass – It was an optional skate for the Black and Gold on Sunday morning with the snow coming down outside Warrior Ice Arena. Inside, the Bruins were preparing for a very important Sunday night showdown with the Montreal Canadiens. Bruce Cassidy confirmed that Tuukka Rask will get the starting nod and that there may be one change among the forward group up front.
One would expect that would be the possible return of Matt Beleskey to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch vs. Vancouver on Saturday. Cassidy said “with his [knee] injury, we’ve got to get him back to playing speed, playing pace whatever you want to call it.”
Otherwise, it will be largely the same group that has now won two games in a row against San Jose and Vancouver under Cassidy, and will be looking to make it three headed into their “bye week.”
“We’ve played a pretty decent two games and got the important points,” said Rask. “It would be nice to finish it off with a big one tonight.”
Rask will come into Sunday night fresh after getting a couple of days off. He could always use a good result against the Habs, against whom he's 6-15-3 lifetime with a 2.61 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 25 appearances.
Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Canadiens based on morning skate:
K. Miller-C. Miller
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.
*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.
*What a great piece on the Stoneman Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.
*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.
*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.
*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is returning from injury ahead of the playoffs.
*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.
Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.
MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues
The Bruins currently sit four points behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.
If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.