Causeway gameday! Boston Bruins joust with the Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 15: David Pastrnak
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 15: David Pastrnak /
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The Boston Bruins welcome the Vegas Golden Knights to the TD Garden for the first time.  The Bruins look to redeem themselves from an earlier loss to VGK, a team on its first losing streak in franchise history.

There is no denying that the hot start of the Vegas Golden Knights is the biggest surprise early in this NHL season.  The team that somehow finds themselves sitting at 8-3-0 and 2nd in the Pacific Division takes on a Boston Bruins team that they have already beaten once this season.

The Bruins are a team still looking for their identity.  For the most part, it has been a disappointing season for Bruins fans.  The Bs have lost games to the Avalanche, Sabres, and Golden Knights, three teams no one expected much from this season.

The disappointment extends to more than just the on-ice performance.  The Bruins haven’t just been bitten by the injury bug.  They are the patient zero of the injury apocalypse.  The team that already started younger than it had in nearly a decade gets younger with each injury.

Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins /

Long term injuries to Noel Acciari, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid, David Krejci, and now surgery for David Backes leaves the Bruins scrambling.  I can’t imagine how much the team paying for gas between Providence and Boston.  Young players like Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen, and Anders Bjork have been attempting to answer the call.  But consistency has been lacking, as is expected with an incredibily young lineup.  Even with all of that, the Bruins still sport a 4-3-3 record.  That puts them 2 points out of a playoff spot with 3 games in hand.

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Vegas has likewise been hit by injuries.  The Golden Knights are on their third and fourth string goalies, after losing Marc-Andre Fleury and former Bruin Malcolm Subban.  The net is now in the (capable?) hands of Oscar Dansk and Maxime Lagace and their 6 combined career NHL games.

Schedule

After a short jaunt to Columbus, the Bruins return home for a 7:00 pm game.  The game will be shown on television on NESN, and broadcast on the radio on 98.5 The Sports Hub.  After a 7 game home stand, the Golden Knights are in the middle of a 6 game road trip in the Northeast and Eastern Canada.

What to watch for

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been dealt a 16 against a dealer’s face card this season.  For those not up on they’re Blackjack lingo, that’s the equivalent of being dealt a rough hand.  The Bruins locker room and treatment room need to have revolving doors installed based upon the frequency of use this season.  Here’s a look at what sort of lineup was cobbled together for practice:

Injuries happen in the NHL and every team has to deal with them.  But I can’t for the life of me remember of a time when so many integral parts of a team all suffer injuries or other maladies that leave them out long term at the same time.  Jordan Szwarz, recently recalled, will likely be making his Bruins NHL debut tonight after being called up.

Vegas started the season at 8-1-0, shocking the NHL community.  The question then became: are they actually this good, or is this a fluke?  I imagine there were many people that didn’t see the expansion team win 8 games during the entire season.  However, the last two games, Vegas has given up 6 goals in each and lost both.  This was their first taste of a losing streak as a team.

Next: Agostino and McIntyre returned to Providence

Now, when teams are presented with adversity, one of two things happen: (1) they rise up, band together and power through, or (2) the wheels fall off.  Tonight’s game, on the road will be a test to see which direction Vegas wants to go.  Overall, a win tonight for either team will be big.  It would be the Bruins sixth straight game with points, or could help stabilize the Golden Knights during a lengthy road trip.