On Thursday night, the Boston Bruins announced their roster for Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, and there was no shortage of veterans.
The forwards are Alex Chiasson, John Farinacci, A.J. Greer, Brett Harrison, Danton Heinen, Jakub Lauko, Brad Marchand, Georgii Merkulov, David Pastrnak, Matthew Poitras, Anthony Richard, and Pavel Zacha.
The defensemen are Hampus Lindholm, Mason Lohrei, Charlie McAvoy, Kevin Shattenkirk, Reilly Walsh, and Parker Wotherspoon.
And… The two goaltenders are Kyle Keyser, and Linus Ullmark.
Plenty of veterans in the lineup
For the first time in the entire preseason, the Bruins have gone with a veteran heavy lineup with Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Pavel Zacha, Hampus Lindholm, Charlie McAvoy, Kevin Shattenkirk and Linus Ullmark all making their first appearances in the preseason.
For Ullmark it remains to be seen how much he plays, if at all. After all, this game, does appear to be a showcase game for Kyle Keyser to show him off to other teams as trade bait.
Tonight, fans will get a glimpse of their new second line of Zacha at the center position, along with Pastrnak and Marchand who will presumably be paired with Charlie McAvoy or Kevin Shattenkirk and Hampus Lindholm on defense.
Players to watch tonight (one from each position group)
Forwards: Matthew Poitras
In what very well could be his last preseason game, Matthew Poitras needs to be on his game in all aspects. In his one game of preseason action he was able to notch a goal, but was given the feedback that he needed to play in the defensive zone a bit better.
If he is able to take that feedback to heart, and he is able to make a jump from the last game to this one, he may be on his way to playing on Monday and extending his time with the Bruins a bit longer.
Poitras doesn’t necessarily need to score another goal here, or even necessarily put up anything on the scoreboard, but if he is moving well, and continuing to play like himself, he should be in good shape. If he doesn’t, he could be packing his bags for the OHL sooner than he would have liked.
Defensemen: Mason Lohrei
Much like Poitras, Lohrei is playing for his ability to stay with the big club. The big difference between the two is he actually has a leg to stand on, two actually. One is his experience in the system, and the second is the way his contract is structured.
Unlike Poitras, Lohrei can be sent down to the Providence Bruins. However, with rumors swirling around about a possible trade of Matt Grzelcyk, it is possible he’ll stick around for a bit longer to see if any trades would be worth it.
Lohrei ate up a good chunk of minutes in his preseason debut on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres, but he’ll need to that again tonight, along with keeping his name on the scoreboard in order to stay up with the big club. Without the rumors, the Bruins are all set at defenseman, but the Ohio State product is sure making that look like a difficult statement to back-up.
Goalie: Whoever starts in net
Going into tonight’s matchup, Boston is in a bit of a sticky situation. On one hand, Boston may start Keyser who tallied 20 saves in a losing effort to the Sabres, or the Bruins may start Ullmark to get him going for the first since winning the Vezina.
Whoever is named the starting netminder for this one is going to play a big role in this game, as the Flyers will even be trotting out some goal scorers in Owen Tippett, and even former Boston forward Garnet Hathaway.
Getting on the scoreboard first may not be as key as it was against Buffalo, but getting a good performance from whoever starts in goal is definitely a key to beating a Philadelphia team who has fallen in each of its first two preseason games.
How can I watch it?
The game will be televised nationally on NHL Network, and locally on NESN+. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.