BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are still missing solid chunks of their lineup with their entire second line decimated by injuries, but they’re also banking on some energy and jump provided by the return of some key forwards.
Ryan Spooner, Brad Marchand and David Backes are all jumping back into the lineup on Wednesday night against the first place Tampa Bay Lightning, and finishing off their varying levels of recovery. Marchand has missed eight of the last 10 games with a couple of injuries, Backes is returning less than four weeks after surgery to remove 10 inches of his colon, and Spooner is back after missing Sunday’s loss to the Oilers.
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The Bruins certainly could use the firepower versus a Tampa team lighting up the rest of the NHL. At the very least, the Bruins should be teeming with energy like they weren’t against the Edmonton Oilers last weekend, and they catch the Lightning on the second night of back-to-back games having lost three of their last five contests.
“It’s got to bring some energy to us. We were flat against Edmonton and we’ve got to be better turning the page and having a bounce-back game,” said Patrice Bergeron. “There are a lot of things that should be helping us have the energy we need. It should be a fun game.
“[Tampa’s] offense is pretty lethal, and their power play is very good. So defense is going to be key. We’re playing a good team, it’s a good challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
A win could push the Bruins back into playoff position in the Atlantic Division and would be a nice little measuring stick victory after stabilizing their game over the past few weeks. More important, it could be a “W” for their No. 1 goaltender at a time when he needs to start seeing positive results while getting his game on track.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on optional morning skate with Backes, Marchand and Spooner back in the fold, and the possibility that the Bruins may once again go with seven D-men as they did against the Penguins: