Columbus Blue Jackets (7-4-0) vs Boston Bruins (4-3-2)
MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2017, 7 p.m. (Nationwide Arena)
Boston's first game against the Blue Jackets this year is just the 10th game of the year for the Bruins, who haven't yet had a chance to get into a rhythm.
Still, the team comes to Columbus riding a four-game point streak, even if two of those games were overtime losses. Overall, a team expected by many to contend in the Atlantic Division has been outscored 27-29 on the year.
The team has battled injuries with three regulars out, and it won't quite be the same Bruins team people are used to. Tuukka Rask has struggled some in net and is splitting starts with Anton Khudobin, though the latter is expected to be out against Columbus with Rask in net and call-up Zane McIntyre serving as the No. 2.
You Oughta Know: Charlie McAvoy
Not to go all John Buccigross on you, but if you're a fan of #cawlidgehawkey, you likely know McAvoy. The 19-year-old defenseman starred the past two years at Boston University, racking up 51 points in 75 games from the blue line. He didn't have to go far to join the Bruins, of course, doing so for the team's playoff run. McAvoy made his Bruins debut during the postseason, totaling three assists in six games vs. Ottawa and becoming the ninth Boston player of all time to play in a playoff game for the team before suiting up for a regular-season contest. He's continued to impress with a goal and seven helpers in the first nine games.
- Forward David Krejci is out with a back injury, with the 31-year-old Czech center holding a 1-5-6 line in six games. The Bruins are also without center Ryan Spooner (groin) and defenseman Adam McQuaid (broken leg).
- The teams have played just 24 times, with Columbus holding a 9-9-6 record. The only teams the Blue Jackets have played fewer times (other than Vegas) are Montreal (23), Ottawa (23) and Toronto (22).
- Brad Marchand has 23 career shorthanded goals, and that number is the most in the NHL since he made his debut in the 2009-10 season.
THIS YEAR: First meeting
LAST MEETING: Columbus posted a 4-3 win against Boston on Dec. 27 of last season, the 13th win in the Blue Jackets' 16-game streak. The Jackets had lost the previous two meetings against the Bruins on the year.
Keys to the Game
ONE: Columbus' strong penalty kill must show up again as Boston enters with the power play unit clicking, with the team's mark of 26.5 percent fifth in the NHL. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, have yet to give up a power play goal this year in Nationwide Arena.
TWO: Don't let Rask get comfortable. The Boston goaltender is a longtime star in the league but has struggled this season with a save percentage below .900. Columbus let Steve Mason, whose GAA was near 6.00, settle into the game Friday and had to rally to earn the two points. Getting at Rask early, especially with McIntyre expected to back up, could be key.
THREE: Handle the big guns. Boston's depth is hurting with all of the injuries, but such players as Marchand, David Pastrnak and Anders Bjork are high-level scorers. The Jackets' top two pairs will see a lot of action.
Team Projected Lineup
|63||Brad Marchand||9 GP, 7-5-12||37||Patrice Bergeron||4 GP, 1-3-4||10||Anders Bjork||9 GP, 3-4-7|
|74||Jake DeBrusk||9 GP, 2-2-4||42||David Backes||4 GP, 0-1-1||88||David Pastrnak||9 GP, 6-2-8|
|18||Kenny Agostino||4 GP, 0-1-1||20||Riley Nash||9 GP, 0-2-2||72||Frank Vatrano||8 GP, 0-0-0|
|59||Tim Schaller||9 GP, 2-2-4||52||Sean Kuraly||9 GP, 0-2-2||43||Danton Heinen||5 GP, 2-3-5|
|33||Zdeno Chara||9 GP, 1-2-3||73||Charlie McAvoy||9 GP, 1-7-8|
|47||Torey Krug||9 GP, 1-1-2||25||Brandon Carlo||9 GP, 0-3-3|
|86||Kevan Miller||8 GP, 0-1-1||14||Paul Postma||3 GP, 0-0-0|