Boston Bruins fans, the time has finally come.
The long wait is over as the 2021-22 regular season finally kicks off for the Bruins, going against the Dallas Stars (1-0-0).
The Bruins are looking to build off of what was a stronger regular season last year that ended early with a second-round exit in the playoffs to the New York Islanders.
GM Don Sweeney made plenty of moves this offseason to rebuild the bottom-six forward group, brought in a replacement for Tuukka Rask (for now) and re-signed a couple of key players.
This is a team projected to be one of the better groups in hockey and should get back to the postseason. And it all starts on Saturday with the first test against the Stars, where the rookie Jeremy Swayman gets the start in goal for the Bruins.
The last time these two squads faced was at the tail end of the 2019-20 season. The Bruins beat the Stars for the second time that season to sweep the series, ending with a 4-3 victory. The two didn’t play against each other last year as they played in different divisions.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
"Bruins projected linesMarchand-Bergeron-PastrnakHall-Coyle-SmithDeBrusk-Haula-FolignoFrederic-Nosek-Kuhlman Forbort-McAvoyReilly-CarloGrzelcyk-Clifton SwaymanUllmark"
"Stars projected linesBenn-Seguin-RadulovPeterson- Hintz-PavelskiRaffl-Faksa-GurianovKiviranta-Glendening-Kero Lindell-HeiskanenSuter-SekeraHanley-Hakanpaa HoltbyKhudobin"
The Stars opened their season with a 3-2 OT win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night. Jacob Peterson scored his first NHL goal with a nifty deke to beat Igor Shesterkin and open the scoring.
Radek Faksa’s power-play goal in the second built a 2-0 lead for Dallas, but the Rangers tied things up before the end of the middle frame. It was Miro Heiskanen as the hero in the opener, beating Shesterkin with a wrist shot in OT off the rush to seal the victory.
The win wasn’t without casualties for Dallas. Defenseman John Klingberg left the game with a lower-body injury after a collision with Chris Kreider. He came back in the second, but didn’t appear on the bench for the third. He was not at the morning skate on Saturday and looks like Joel Hanley will insert in the lineup in his place.
Dallas has a strong defensive core and a solid top-six group. But no Klingberg certainly hurts the top-four on the blue line for Dallas. Holtby, who looked strong in his first start with the Stars, looks to be the starter again.
Buckle in folks. Bruins season is here.