Boston Bruins Reveal Drew Stafford’s Linemates in His First Game With the Club
The Boston Bruins have announced where their newest forward will slot into the lineup Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. When Drew Stafford was acquired from the Winnipeg Jets, it was expected that he would slot in somewhere in the bottom-six. The team’s top-six has looked fairly solidified in recent games, but the bottom-six has seen some changes from a game-to-game basis.
Whether it be Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Tim Schaller or Riley Nash, the Bruins have made some minor tweaks to their bottom-six when needed. Many expected Stafford to replace either Hayes or Beleskey in the lineup, though it turns neither will be playing against the Devils on Saturday. According to the Bruins practice lines and the Bruins’ official Twitter account, both Beleskey and Hayes will be scratches and Stafford will skate with Ryan Spooner and Frank Vatrano.
The lines at practice were as follows:
Brad Marchand- Patrice Bergeron – David Backes
Peter Cehlarik – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano – Ryan Spooner – Drew Stafford
Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller – Colin Miller
Veteran Addition to a Young Line
Stafford playing with Vatrano and Spooner is a good thing. It will provide two of the team’s youngest, most offensive forwards to play with a veteran forward who has made a career based on scoring. Though Stafford has struggled this season so far, playing alongside a legitimate playmaker like Spooner and a sniper like Vatrano could open up lanes for him.
Stafford is better than a fourth-line player in the NHL. Using him on an offense-first line with Spooner and Vatrano will help get the most out of the Bruins newest addition. Should Stafford not find his stride with the Bruins, he could still be a very good depth piece on a Bruins team that has looked much improved following the firing of Claude Julien.
Anton Khudobin Getting the Start
The Bruins are turning the crease over to Anton Khudobin on Saturday to rest Tuukka Rask. After going winless in his first 8 appearances this season, Khudobin has won each of his last two. In his last two games – coming against the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings, Khudobin has compiled a 2.00 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. He stood on his head in his last start against the Kings, allowing one goal on 28 shots – god for a .964 save percentage, to help the Bruins close out their California road trip with a victory.
For the Bruins, every point counts at this stage of the season. Whether it’s Rask in net or Khudobin, the team needs to show up. Similarly, whether Stafford, Beleskey, Hayes or anybody else slots into the lineup, the team needs to click. It will be a full-on sprint to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Bruins can’t afford to finish last.