SOUTH BEND, Indiana – It appears that it will be a bit of a new look for the Bruins on New Year’s Day against the Chicago Blackhawks with rookie Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson as the latest young player to get a look on the wing on David Krejci’s line.
With David Backes suspended, Danton Heinen struggling and Anders Bjork still in Providence, it was JFK skating at the right wing alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk at the Monday Bruins skate at the Compton Family Arena, home of the Notre Dame Hockey team.
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It continues what’s been a long audition process to figure out who's going to work on either side of Krejci, with DeBrusk manning one of the wings. JFK was slotted in with Krejci and DeBrusk in the third period of the victory over the Sabres in Buffalo on Saturday night to satisfying results for the coaching staff, so they’ll keep rolling with it in the outdoor game against the Blackhawks.
“As a team, we had a strong third period against Buffalo where we kept it in, kept it simple and went to work, and that’s how we have to play [in the Winter Classic],” said Krejci. “So we’ll just build on the third period both as a line and as a team.”
Certainly, the playmaking and offensive skills for JFK could play well in tandem with Krejci and DeBrusk, but one wonders if Forsbacka Karlsson can do enough along the boards and net-front to excel long term on the wing.
It will be the first game on the wing for JFK since he was called up from Providence and a departure for a player who's pretty much always played center in his time at Boston University and with the Bruins organization.
Otherwise, the only notable things were Charlie McAvoy’s absence (lower-body injury), meaning he’ll be out for the Winter Classic, and Brad Marchand’s presence, meaning he’ll be in his usual spot at left wing alongside Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Here are the Bruins projected line combos and D-pairings based on the Monday practice:
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