Joakim Nordstrom

Joakim Nordstrom making his Bruins season debut vs. Avalanche

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Joakim Nordstrom making his Bruins season debut vs. Avalanche

The Bruins are one step closer to full health for their lineup with the news that Joakim Nordstrom will make his season debut for the Black and Gold on Thursday night.

The versatile Swedish winger will play against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in the fourth and final game of their season-opening West Coast road trip after notching wins in the first three games. Nordstrom was slowed by a foot injury suffered in the Stanley Cup Final last spring that was slow to heal over the summer and kept him from being a regular participant in training camp over the last month.

It appears that the Bruins will pull power forward Brett Ritchie from the lineup, per the morning skate lines and pairings, and he’ll join Par Lindholm as a healthy scratch after suiting up in the first three games of the season. Interesting to note that David Backes will remain in the lineup for the Bruins after serving as the healthy scratch in the second game of the season against the Arizona Coyotes. 

Lindstrom finished with seven goals and 12 points in 70 games last season while bouncing between the second, third and fourth lines, and was medically cleared to play on Tuesday after not appearing in any preseason game action.

Bruce Cassidy also told reporters that Jaroslav Halak will get the start against the Avalanche, though Tuukka Rask was also on the ice for morning skate after he limped off the ice due to dehydration and cramped muscles following Tuesday’s win Vegas.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on reports out of Colorado from Thursday’s morning skate:

 

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Kuhlman

Heinen-Coyle-Backes

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

 

Halak

Rask

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David Krejci missing from Bruins practice, status murky for opening night

David Krejci missing from Bruins practice, status murky for opening night

BRIGHTON, Mass. — Once again David Krejci (lower body) is missing from the practice ice on Monday morning a week after suffering an injury two shifts into his only game action of the preseason. Krejci and Joakim Nordstrom (foot) were both not skating at Warrior Ice Arena in the opening practice of the first regular season work week for the Black and Gold, and their absences put into doubt the availability of both players for the Oct. 3 season opener in Dallas.

Krejci collided with Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere in the first period of last week’s preseason game, and hasn’t been seen on the ice since, though the Bruins have maintained that the Czech playmaker should be ready to go for the regular season.

Otherwise, Anders Bjork, Trent Frederic, Jack Studnicka and Cameron Hughes were all missing from the practice ice as well and those young forwards have essentially been cut from NHL training camp and sent to Providence for AHL training camp. The Bruins haven’t announced those final moves as of yet while dancing around the uncertain availability of Krejci for the opener, but it’s expected they will deal with the absence of No. 46 with the players currently on the NHL roster.

If Krejci indeed doesn’t play on Thursday night against the Stars, it would be expected that Charlie Coyle would bump up to No. 2 center between Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman, and then the two bottom-6 lines would be a mix-and-match exercise with Nordstrom also out of the lineup.

“When Coyle’s on like that, he’s got a bit of Krech in him, right? He’s got the puck, he’s drawing people to him, those two guys find a way to get open. We’re encouraged by Charlie, the way he’s going offensively. Trying to attack a little more, whether he dishes or shoots, that’s decision as he gets closer to the net,” said Bruce Cassidy following Saturday’s preseason finale win over Chicago. “[I’ve] liked his game [and] liked his camp. Obviously, he’s done a good job, the numbers back that up on the scoresheet, but also, just watching every day in practice, he’s dialed in, ready to go.

“Maybe being here now, from the beginning, it’ll give him more confidence. I think the playoffs gave him confidence last year, a big part of us, our team’s success, scored goals. Looks like he’s taking off from there than maybe when he first got here. He could just be that guy that needs a little time to settle in. We like him in the middle, we think he’ll make our third line stronger, no matter who he plays with. It’s nice to know we also have a guy that, if Krech or Bergy go down, that can go up [the lineup].”

Krejci was healthy all of last season with 20 goals and 73 points in 81 games played, but his potential absence at the start of the season is a reminder that the Bruins core group is getting awfully rickety with so many key players well into their 30’s and 40’s at this point.

Here's how the Bruins lined up at practice Monday morning: 

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk Par Lindholm Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen Charlie Coyle David Backes
Chris Wagner Sean Kuraly Brett Ritchie

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Connor Clifton
Jakub Zboril Steven Kampfer

GOALTENDERS

Tuukka Rask Jaroslav Halak

Four Bruins ranked among NHL Network's Top 50 players>>>>>

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Patrice Bergeron makes preseason debut in Saturday's finale

Patrice Bergeron makes preseason debut in Saturday's finale

BOSTON - While Bruins regulars David Krejci (lower body) and Joakim Nordstrom (foot) won’t be in the lineup for Saturday’s final preseason dress rehearsal against the Chicago Blackhawks, one Bruins player will be healthy and making his exhibition season debut.

Patrice Bergeron sat out the first five games of the preseason with a lingering groin issue that also bugged him in last spring’s playoffs, but he’ll be in the lineup against the Blackhawks at TD Garden for the 3 p.m. matinee, along with usual linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. It’s good news for No. 37 that he’s feeling good enough to ramp things up for the preseason finale and bodes well for a healthy start to the year for the 34-year-old center.

Otherwise, the Bruins lineup has mostly regulars with younger players Anders Bjork and Jakub Zboril getting a final chance to leave an impression on the coaching staff while youngster Cameron Hughes also gets a game after taking a skate to the face in rookie camp that knocked him out for nearly all of regular training camp.

It bodes well for David Backes’ chances of making the final roster that the Bruins coaching staff didn’t feel the need to get him into one final preseason game, and instead will try to get extended looks at new faces Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie.

Here’s the lineup with just a few days remaining until the Black and Gold open the season Oct. 3 in Dallas:

Forwards: Bergeron, Bjork, Coyle, DeBrusk, Hughes, Kuhlman, Kuraly, Lindholm, Marchand, Pastrnak, Ritchie, Wagner

Defensemen: Carlo, Chara, Clifton, Krug, McAvoy, Zboril

Goalies: Lagace, Rask

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