Boston Bruins Put to the Test Out West


January 7, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman

Francois Beauchemin

(23) forces Boston Bruins center

Carl Soderberg

(34) to turn the puck over during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

“Great teams out here,” right wing Reilly Smith said. “It will be difficult, for sure. I remember last year because it was definitely a tough road trip. I think we were lucky to get one win out of it. I look for a better effort this time around, but you’re not going to win these games unless you’re firing on all cylinders.”

We all know that the Boston Bruins haven’t exactly had a stellar start to their season, especially with the multitude of injuries that has plagued the roster already. However, over the course of the last twelve games or so they seem to be finding their way, their rhythm (minus the atrocious Canada road trip of course). Tonight they will embark on a new test, taking on one of the Western Conference’s top teams, Anaheim Ducks.

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A breath of fresh air for the Bruins, the Ducks have been battling without key players in their line up as well. While Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin came down with the mumps and have since returned, they are now without Clayton Stoner. Though the defensemen has started skating again, he is still not ready to re-enter the action, leaving the Ducks with just three defensemen with a combined 21 games of NHL experience. (Sound familiar?)

Despite missing Saturday’s practice, Kevan Miller was on the ice Sunday for the team skate as well as this morning, indicating that he will be good to go tonight against the Duck. For Miller, tonight’s game has some extra emotion behind it as he plays in front of a hometown crowd and a group of friends and family.

“It’s been a while since I’ve actually come home and played a game,” Miller said. “It’s exciting to be able to see my family.”

Given his  important role among the Bruins blue line with McQuaid and Chara being injured, his family should get to cheer him on quite a bit tonight, given that he is 100% from his injury.

In net the Bruins are putting their faith in Tuukka Rask once again who seems to have found his niche after being pulled in Toronto in the team’s embarrassing loss to the Leafs in mid-November. Since the devastating loss, Rask has allowed just 7 goals on 159 shots against, good enough for a .919 save percentage and 3-1-1 record.  He will be opposite Frederik Andersen with Igor Bobkov as his back up after Jason LaBarbera sustained an upper body injury.  Andersen has a 10-4-4 record on the season and .915 save percentage.

With David Krejci being placed on IR and not making the trip, the Bruins called up Craig Cunningham and Zach Trotman (emergency basis). Both are expected to be healthy scratches tonight along with Matt Fraser, making the lines look like this:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Milan LucicCarl SoderbergLoui Eriksson

Reilly SmithChris KellySeth Griffith

Daniel PailleGregory CampbellSimon Gagne

Dennis SeidenbergTorey Krug

Joe Morrow – Dougie Hamilton

Matt BartkowskiKevan Miller

Tonight’s game is being broadcast on NESN and the puck will be dropping shortly after 10:00PM, for those of you that need to wake up early, we’ll be sure to have all of the important talking points up and ready for your perusing tomorrow morning as you sip your coffee.