Winners of their last three games, the Boston Bruins host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Boston is coming off a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, while the Wild haven’t played since the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Minnesota fell 6-4 to the St. Louis Blues at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins.
The Wild are on a four game skid that dates back to Dec. 11, falling out of first place in the Central. They enter Thursday with a record of 19-10-2 while Boston sports a 17-10-2 record.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
"Bruins projected lineMarchand-Bergeron-SmithHall-Haula-PastrnakFoligno-Coyle-SteenFrederic-Lazar-Blidh Moore-GrzelcykReilly-CarloForbort-Clifton SwaymanUllmark"
"Wild projected linesKaprizov-Hartman-ZuccarelloFoligno-Rossi-FialaBoldy-Gaudreau-PitlickDewer-Sturm Brodin-DumbaMerrill-GoligoskiKulikov-BennAddison KahkonenHammond"
The Bruins are still without Jake Debrusk, who is in COVID protocols, and now will also be without Tomas Nosek, who was placed into COVID protocols on Wednesday. Anton Blidh draws into the lineup as Oskar Steen, fresh off his first NHL goal on Tuesday, stays on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Nick Foligno.
Minnesota is not only struggling as of late, but are hurting. A number of key players are out tonight due to injuries/COVID protocols.
Four of their regular forwards out, but they do get Jonas Brodin back and Matt Dumba will play. Brodin was in COVID protocols and had missed the Winter Classic Game. As a result of those forwards out, the Wild are rolling with 11 forwards and seven defensemen tonight.
The Wild are also without starting goaltender Cam Talbot, who left after the second period of the Winter Classic Game. He had been shelled for six goals so most assumed he was pulled, but coach Dean Evason said he was dealing with an injury, which has lingered and why he did not travel to Boston.
However, top of the Wild’s top prospects make their NHL debuts. Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi, the Wild’s 2019 and 2020 first-round selections, have been recalled from the AHL and will play on Thursday. Both of their debuts have been highly anticipated and Bruins fans might be familiar with Boldy, who played college hockey at Boston College.
Like on Tuesday, the Bruins are facing a shorthanded team. This is most certainly not the same Wild team that ran the table early in the year, winning eight in a row in late November/early December.
It’s still a strong team and that top line of Kaprizov, Hartman and Zuccarello is dangerous. But the Bruins can make a statement with a win and string together four wins in a row for the first time this season.