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Bruins Vets Making Preseason Debuts

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - Captain Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron are set to make their 2017-18 preseason debuts on Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers' in their third of seven preseason games. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. 

"I'm looking forward to tonight, and excited to be back wearing the jersey and in the game," said Bergeron. "It's always exciting, especially here at home to play in front of the fans is going to be great and hopefully we can have a good game, a good effort."

Bergeron has watched as he teammates have earned 3-2 and 4-2 wins over Montreal and Detroit to start the preseason. 

The centerman is expected to skate on a line with Brad Marchand and rookie Anders Bjork on Thursday night. 

Bjork has been skating alongside the duo in practices at training camp, but has yet to suit up with them in game action. 

"It's been going well in practices, but you want to translate that into games and make sure you feel good on the ice with some more competition," said Bergeron. "So it's going to be a good test for us. Hopefully we can learn from it and build something right away from tonight."

During training camp, Bergeron and Marchand usually have a young player on the right wing that skates with them. It's a great learning opportunity. 

"I like it. It's nice being able to try to help as much as possible," said Bergeron. "Most of the time, the guys on our wing don't need much help, but it's always there if need be, and also it's nice to always share the experience of things that you see on the ice, and so far, it's been going well."

Up front, Bergeron and Marchand will be getting into game action, while on the back end, the Captain will slot into the lineup, and Tuukka Rask is expected to play the entire game between the pipes. 

Injury Updates; Krug Out Three Weeks 

After the first two preseason games, there were a few injuries to announce. Matt Beleskey is out day-to-day with a foot contusion, while Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson is out day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Torey Krug is out and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. He took a puck to the jaw in Tuesday's game, and has a non-displaced fracture. 

"That's something we always talk about, when something like that happens, it's about the next guy," said Bergeron. "It definitely gives an opportunity to a young guy to prove himself even longer. We're going to miss Torey for sure for that period of time, but that being said, we have a lot of good players that can do the job, and that's what we're going to see."

One blueliner who could step up while Krug recovers is Matt Grzelcyk, who is entering his second year pro. 

"I came into camp trying to put my best foot forward, and I'm going to try to continue to work hard," said Grzelcyk ."Obviously getting a year under my belt last year definitely helped confidence-wise. All of the veteran guys have been very welcoming to us, so I think that makes a huge difference."

"Yeah, Grizz has some puck-moving ability, a good first pass," said Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "We're asking him to continue to work on using his quickness and stick to kill rushes, instead of having to confront people physically, but to confront them with foot speed and acumen."

"Obviously Donny will make the decision he feels we need to make at the of camp, but right now, there will be good competition from within," said Cassidy, of all the young defensemen competing for spots. "That's why we have depth."

"If you're looking for just a clone of Torey, an offensive guy, obviously Grzelcyk, [Jakub] Zboril have some of those qualities, an opportunity for them," said Cassidy. "Or it could be the best player - Robbie O'Gara started last year for us, and Tommy Cross played in the playoffs. [Paul] Postma is a right shot, but has played left in the past. So internally, we have options, but again, I'm sure he'll always look at trying to make our team better if need be, but right now, it's not a long-term injury, so that's the good news."

Projected Lineup vs. Philadelphia Sept. 21

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Anders Bjork

Kenny Agostino - Ryan Spooner - Danton Heinen

Jesse Gabrielle - Riley Nash - Noel Acciari

Anton Blidh - Colby Cave - Zach Senyshyn

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Tommy Cross

Jeremy Lauzon - Paul Postma

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban

Extra: Joona Koppanen

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