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Bergeron, Backes Out for Home Opener

Patrice Bergeron day-to-day with lower-body injury

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - The Bruins open the 2017-18 season on Thursday night at TD Garden, when they host the Nashville Predators.

Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 100.7 WZLX).

The Black & Gold will be without Patrice Bergeron and David Backes for the game.

"Backes is out. He'll be evaluated later today, so we'll have an update," Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said after pregame skate. "And Bergy is also out. He'll be day-to-day, lower body."

Cassidy elaborated on Backes' situation.

"He's going to see the doctor this afternoon, so I don't want to expand on it, because I don't know all the details," said Cassidy. "But there should be some sort of announcement later after he sees the medical staff."

After Thursday's game, the Bruins get three days off of game action, before hosting the the Colorado Avalanche on Monday afternoon at TD Garden. That will give the injured players time to recover.

"It's nice to not have to go right back at it [Friday] or Saturday," said Cassidy. "It allows guys like Torey - Torey definitely has a doctors visit. There could be news there, we don't know. But he has his three week check-up."

"And with Bergy, day to day. With Backs, we're just not sure right now. That could be a blessing as well."

With Bergeron and Backes out up front, the lines will be juggled heading into the opener.

"That throws a few lines into a blender," said Cassidy. "We're going to see some tinkering tonight. I don't want to get specific with each line, since a lot of them have been broken up."

"Right now, we're planning on moving [Ryan] Spooner up into Bergy's spot, and then we'll go from there. So there may be a line of [Matt] Beleskey, [Sean] Kuraly, [Frank] Vatrano, I threw them together yesterday in practice and they had lots of energy. Obviously, they're going to have to play a North-South game."

"If it's [Riley] Nash, [Tim] Schaller, [Noel] Acciari, they've been together, we see them as a shutdown line with some physicality and hopefully a little bit of finish," said Cassidy. "And whatever the lines end up, listen, we've preached the same thing. We want to play with pace and we want to be hard at the puck, on the puck, around the puck, and that's what we're going to ask of all twelve forwards in the lineup."

Video: Bergeron, Backes sidelined for season opener

NHL Debuts on Tap

The Bruins will see two NHL debuts on Thursday, when forwards Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk suit up in the Spoked-B.

"Words can't really describe it, to be honest," said DeBrusk, whose family - including his father, former NHLer Louie DeBrusk - will be in attendance. "It's something that you work for your whole life, and it's a dream come true, to be honest. Especially being here in Boston and the goal every since I got drafted here was to play. It's really exciting, and it's an honor, and I'm very proud, and humbled by it."

Video: DeBrusk previews his NHL debut

"I'm very excited," said Bjork. "A little bit nervous, but I'm just trying to focus on winning and doing the little things to help the team win, whatever that may be, and doing my best out there."

Bjork wanted to send out gratitude to all those who have helped him get to this level.

"Obviously a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice from my parents, my family, my teammates and coaches who have helped me a ton," said Bjork. "There's a lot of people I have to be thankful for, and I'm grateful for this opportunity."

Video: Bjork on getting ready for his NHL debut

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