The Boston Bruins (42-20-9, 93 points, 2nd in the Atlantic Division) return home to TD Garden on Saturday to face the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets (40-28-3, 83 points, 5th in the Metropolitan Division) in their second matchup of the season.
Columbus defeated Boston, 7-4, on Tuesday (March 12th) and will host the B’s at Nationwide Arena on April 2nd in their final regular season meeting between the two clubs.
Boone Jenner recorded his first career hat trick (and 100th career NHL goal) in the Blue Jackets’ win against the B’s as Columbus grabbed the 1-0-0 season series lead.
The Bruins went 0-3-0 on their most recent three-game road trip prior to returning to TD Garden where they have gone 10-0-0 in their last ten home games– outscoring opponents, 36-19, in that span.
Boston carries a long list of injuries into Saturday night’s matchup, but head coach, Bruce Cassidy, will be getting one important top-six forward back in his lineup as Jake DeBrusk will return from a lower body injury that kept him out of the last five games to his usual spot on the second line left wing alongside David Krejci.
Charlie Coyle will remain on Krejci’s right side.
Cassidy adjusted his bottom-six forward lines at morning skate, placing Paul Carey on the left side of Sean Kuraly with Chris Wagner on Kuraly’s right side.
Joakim Nordstorm, Noel Acciari and David Backes also took morning rushes together and will likely fill out the fourth line in Saturday night’s game against the Blue Jackets.
Zdeno Chara will remain paired with Charlie McAvoy on the blue line, while John Moore continues to hold Torey Krug’s usual spot on the second pairing with Brandon Carlo.
Krug remains out of the lineup with an upper body injury and was placed in concussion protocol, as announced by the Bruins after morning skate on Saturday.
Steven Kampfer and Connor Clifton will fill out the rest of the blue line as Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) should resume skating next week and Kevan Miller (upper body) is still a ways off.
Miller is “feeling better, but not ready to skate yet,” according to Cassidy.
Marcus Johansson should join Grzelcyk in his return to skating at practice next week, while David Pastrnak will participate in full practice on Monday and likely return to the lineup next Tuesday (March 19th) against the New York Islanders in Long Island.
Pending an official transaction prior to puck drop, Trent Frederic appears to be the only healthy scratch for Boston on Saturday.
In goal, Jaroslav Halak (18-10-4 record, 2.33 goals against average, .924 save percentage in 35 games played) will get the start for the Bruins against Columbus.
Tuukka Rask gets the night off after a, 4-3, loss in Winnipeg on Thursday.
Blue Jackets head coach, John Tortorella, is expected to start backup goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo (9-6-2, 2.97 GAA, .899 SV% in 23 GP) against Boston on Saturday after Sergei Bobrovsky (31-22-1, 2.71 GAA, .909 SV% in 54 GP) picked ups his 30th career shutout in Friday night’s, 3-0, win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Columbus did not have a morning skate in Boston on Saturday, so the starting goaltender against the Bruins cannot officially be confirmed until warmups.
After making his return to Boston with the New York Rangers earlier this season, Blue Jackets trade deadline acquisition and former Bruin, Adam McQuaid, will make his debut at TD Garden with the team that originally selected him (Columbus) 55th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft.
McQuaid has 3-3–6 totals in 44 games with the Blue Jackets and Rangers this season since being traded by the Bruins on Sept. 11, 2018.
Columbus has won three out of their last four games and is 4-4-0 in the month of March.
Boston is 4-3-0 so far this month.