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Beleskey-Krejci-Pastrnak Getting Look in Preseason Action vs. Capitals

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON — When the Bruins face off against the Washington Capitals in preseason action on Tuesday night at TD Garden, David Krejci is expected to be centering a line with Matt Beleksey and David Pastrnak.

It will be the first look in game action for the trio.

While Pastrnak has rotated lines during the start of training camp, Krejci and Beleskey have been skating together since Day One.

“You always want to play with the same guys and keep working on chemistry every practice so with Matt, we’ve been playing together the whole camp so far,” Krejci said Tuesday morning. “So we kind of get the sense of each other, you know, kind of how to play and where to go in some areas, especially in offensive zone.”

“So it’s been good. I’ve been watching his shot, so I try to get him the puck as much as I can and he’s got a pretty heavy shot so hopefully we can put some pucks in the net tonight.”

Playing with Krejci, Beleskey is mostly focused on creating space for him and getting open.

“You can kind of get to know what kind of player Matt is and he’s got a good shot, he gets to the dirty areas so kind of get a feel for this kind of situation,” said Krejci. “Hopefully we create some chemistry early on and feed off each other, learn how to play with each other and hopefully we’ll click and hopefully we’ll play well.”

Pastrnak has had natural chemistry playing with Krejci briefly in the past, and Beleskey enjoys seeing the 19-year-old’s enthusiasm for the game.

“He’s a funny kid - he’s got a lot of energy, he loves playing the game - he’s out there, he’s having fun, working hard, tons of skill on him too so he’s fun to watch,” Beleskey said of Pastrnak.

Even though Beleskey is slotting in on a left wing that Milan Lucic occupied for many years alongside Krejci, the centerman isn’t expecting him to be anything other than himself.

“I want him to play the same way as he did in Anaheim, he had a good season last year so just kind of playing your game and don’t worry about other things,” Krejci said of Beleskey. “So I’m just going to try to give him the puck in the good areas so he can score. He’s going to try to give me the puck in the neutral zone.”

“You know, we’ve been kind of talking how we would like to play on and off the ice, so it’s been a good process so far, four or five days, so finally we’re playing a game, so we’ll see how it goes.”

“There’s nothing much to it, you know. I’m a little nervous, to be honest, it’s been a long time so can’t wait for the national anthem, the first shift and get it started finally.”

The line may stick, and it may not. But they’ll get the look, just as a trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Loui Ericsson will likely get a look on Thursday night in preseason action at TD Garden.

“A lot of it is juggling some players, and as you saw today, Krejci’s going to have kind of his line with Beleskey and Pastrnak and more than likely, Thursday’s game we’ll have Bergy’s line probably with Loui and March,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “So it’s kind of spreading those things out.”

As a result, forwards Brandon DeFazio and Alex Khokhlachev will be the only two players skating in the first two preseason games. Both suited up in Sunday night’s game in Providence.

“When we looked at the center position, when we looked at left wingers and that, I thought DeFazio had a real good game and he would be the right fit for that line for tonight, so we put him in there with that line," said Julien.

Based on the projected lineup, Khokhlachev will be centering a line with DeFazio on his left wing and 2015 first rounder Zach Senyshyn on his right.

“Yeah, for sure, you know, I like playing hockey and every game, I’m happy with the Boston jersey on me,” said Khokhlachev.

With two full years of Providence under his belt, Khokhlachev is happy for any opportunity to showcase his game and make an impact.

“It’s another year and I’ve already played two years in Providence and I’m happy here, so you know I learned a lot,” said the center. “You know, I know what to expect and what the coaches want from me and management, so just worked hard the whole summer and got ready for camp and I think I’m in good shape and just try to do my best right now.”

Vets, Rookies Eager to Get into Preseason Game

After the first group of players got into game action on Sunday night and earned a 2-0 win over New Jersey in Providence, that left the other group eager for puck drop on Tuesday night.

“Very exciting. I know there’s a couple guys in there specifically itching to go hit a guy on another team,” smiled Torey Krug. “So I think for us it’s just about making sure we get the correct work habits that we talk about throughout season and we just keep working on our game - fine tuning, make sure we get in game shape. It’s always an exciting time lacing up for the first preseason game.”

The dynamic of preseason games is always unique, with a blend of returning NHL players, veterans and rookies in the mix.

“There’s a lot of guys that, you know, it might be their first taste of NHL action, so going out there and playing against other NHL players can definitely be a little bit of anxiety,” said Krug. “So for us it’s about just making sure we go out there and help calm them down and just make sure everyone’s playing their game and, you know, everything just takes care of itself.”

2015 first round draft pick Zach Senyshyn is putting all nerves aside as he heads into his first NHL preseason game.

“That’s a part of being a hockey player, kind of learning to deal with those nerves and using them to get better and really use them to excel you to the next level,” said Senyshyn, who will draw on his experience from the Bruins’ rookie camp and tournament in Buffalo.

“It’s another level,” he said. “Going into rookie camp and playing with those guys and learning with them and getting that experience under my belt before coming into this one, I think it’s just going to be another level up. And just having enough confidence in my abilities to go into that next game is going to be huge.”

Fellow forward Austin Czarnik, set to begin his first pro season out of Miami (Ohio), is also eager to wear the Black and Gold in front of the TD Garden crowd.

“It’s going to be exciting for sure, playing in front of all these fans,” said Czarnik. “So I’m just going to take it minute by minute, shift by shift and just see where it takes us — work hard and do everything you can to help the team out.”

Game to Feature 3-on-3 Overtime

Tuesday night’s game will feature a five-minute, sudden-death overtime period using the new '3-on-3' format, regardless of the score at the end of regulation time. Forty-five NHL preseason games will include this expanded opportunity to test the new 3-on-3 OT format in advance of its introduction to regular-season play when the 2015-16 NHL season opens on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

“I think it’s great for teams to get a feel of it and everything else,” said Julien, who has always been a proponent of games not ending in shootouts.

In the 4-on-4 overtime format, Julien most always deployed three forwards and one defenseman. Look for the Bruins to have the same aggressive style in 3-on-3.

“I mean, just because I don’t like shootouts, doesn’t mean we’re not going hopefully improve and be better at it, you know, because it’s going to happen, I’m sure, once in a while,” he said. “But that point becomes pretty huge when you look at the standings at the end of the year. So we’re going to continue to work on that, but for me, when you’re playing in the overtime, you’re going for the win. I mean, you’ve got the point, you want to get that second one, so why sit back? You know, let’s go for it. That’s my approach.”

Projected Lines and Defensive Pairs 9/22 vs. Capitals

Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak

Frank VatranoAustin CzarnikBrian Ferlin

Brandon DeFazioAlex KhokhlachevZach Senyshyn

Anton BlidhChris KellyJustin Hickman

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid

Linus ArnessonKevan Miller

Joe MorrowChris Casto

Goalies: Malcolm Subban, Zane McIntyre

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