(Picture Via NHLBruins.com)
The 3-3-1 Boston Bruins welcome the 5-3-1 Arizona Coyotes to the TD Garden on Tuesday night. The Bruins lead the season series with the ‘Yotes, 1-0, winning 5-3 after blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period on October 17th.
The Coyotes have gone 2-1-1 since they have last seen Boston, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are emerging as young superstars in the league, Domi with 10 points on the season (4G, 6A) and Duclair with 7 points. (5G, 2A).
The Bruins are coming off a 5-3 win over the New York Islanders Friday night and look to add another W to the win column Tuesday night against the Coyotes.
Here are some headlines heading in to Tuesday night’s a tilt.
It looks like Tuukka Rask will get the nod tonight against a young, talented Arizona Coyotes team, ending the talks of a potential goalie controversy in Boston. Jonas Gustavsson got the start Friday night over a struggling Tuukka Rask, stopping 22-of-25 shots, and leading the Bruins to a 5-3 victory at the Barclays Center.
Rask, who is off to a slow start this season with a .854 SV%, 4.40 GAA and 22 goals allowed in just 5 games with a record of 1-3-1, has the support of his coach, Claude Julien, but Julien knows he needs to be better.
“I just think Tuukka has to stop the puck. There’s nothing that’s different, and there may be mistakes, but that’s why you have a goaltender, to stop those.” Julien told reporters after Wednesday nights loss to the Flyers. “we need to be better as a group, from the goaltender on out, and our D’s didn’t close quick. They had a lot of time to make plays, and we were soft in battles, and they were hungrier than we were, and that’s the reality of the situation here. That’s why we didn’t win tonight.”
Gustavsson, who is off to a 2-0-0 start this season with an .896 SV% and 2.50GAA, is feeling confident in himself and his play thus far this season as Tuukka Rask’s back up. “So far it’s been good since the season started. You always look at things that you want to improve, and that keeps you going I guess”
Gustavsson’s teammates are clearly confident in the net minder also, “He’s playing well, you know? He’s competing hard in practices. It’s good to have two very good goaltenders.” David Krejci told CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty. “I remember when he was playing in Detroit, and stuff. He’s got two games and two wins. I thought he did a very good job of keeping us in the game in the first period [against the Islanders] when it easily could have been more than 2-1.”
With Rask likely to start tonight night against Arizona, it ends the topic of a potential goalie controversy in Boston this season.
On the other hand, if Rask continues the poor play, a goalie controversy may be the best thing for this Bruins team.
Beleskey to play Tuesday vs. Coyotes
After suffering an upper-body injury that has kept him out the last two games, Matt Beleskey is a go for tonights game at the TD Garden, according to Claude Julien. Beleskey was skating with the third line in todays morning skate, alongside Jimmy Hates and Ryan Spooner, the drop in lines could be attributed to his slow start this season.
“I think he’s just another guy that’s come in just like [Joonas] Kemppainen, you know. You’ve got to give guys a chance to fit in and, you know, in my mind he’s going to be fine. I think, you know, where he’s missed the last few games, so basically he’s only played what? I think seven games? Or six games? So you know we have to give him a chance.” Julien told reporters Tuesday. “So it’s not what I see or don’t see I think it’s just a matter of him fitting in. We know what he’s capable of doing. He’s a very intense player that is gritty and will go to the net and all that stuff so I think good things are going to come out of him”
Beleskey will have a regular shift Tuesday night, and is expected to play along side Jimmy Hayes and Ryan Spooner.
Pastrnak – Krejci – Eriksson, to stay
After tallying 4 points in Friday night’s victory in Brooklyn, along with adding 7 shots on goal, Claude Julien has decided to keep forward Loui Eriksson alongside David Krejci and David Pastrnak.
“Well, you know, Loui [Eriksson] is a guy whose fit in anywhere you’ve put him -whether it’s been on the right or the left. And that’s where, you know again, that guy deserves credit for being that type of a player. And you know, we know early on he didn’t get the credit he probably deserved and I think slowly but surely everyone started to appreciate him a little bit more.”
While I’m sure the chemistry between Krejci, Pastrnak and Eriksson is great and all, I think Brett Connollys success along side Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand could attribute to the lines staying the way the are. Connolly had a goal and logged 17:52 TOI against the Islanders Friday night. If the production continues from Connolly, I don’t see these lines going any where.
Talbot to Providence
Bruins GM Don Sweeney announced this morning the Max Talbot has been assigned to the Providence Bruins. Talbot has skated in only 2 games for the Bruins this season, after splitting last season in Colorado and Boston, playing in 81 games, with 5 goals and 13 assists.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 tonight and can listen to the play-by-play right here on ESPN New Hampshire.
Tune into the ESPN New Hampshire Bruins Pregame Show from 6-7 taking you right up until puck drop!
For the best coverage of the NHL and the Boston Bruins Follow @MikeGrinnell_ and check out his blog on ESPNNHRadio.com. Also tune into the ESPN New Hampshire Bruins Pregame Show an hour before game time.