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Game Preview: Bruins vs. Islanders

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Tuesday afternoon, while most of Boston is dodging traffic, the Bruins will be dodging the New York Islanders as they travel to St. John's, Newfoundland to play their first preseason contest of 2007 at 5:30 pm ET.


Bruins General manager Peter Chiarelli has been very busy leading up to the exhibition game, and has already trimmed his roster by nine players when he sent several skaters back to juniors and the AHL. Only 20 Bruins (around half the remaining number) will make the trip to northeast Canada.

However, isn't it funny to travel all the way to Newfoundland only to run into a couple of former Bruins?

Well it will be a "reunion" of sorts as the Bruins may face off against old friends goalie Joey MacDonald and recently traded B's forward Ben Walter (who also played at UMass-Lowell), both of whom are working towards winning a home on the island. former Boston University and Beanpot Tournament standout blueliner Freddy Meyer (Sanbornville, NH) and former UMaine goalie Mike Morrison (Medford, Mass.) complete the picture for a very young New York Islanders lineup with a distinctly New England flavor.
 
Boston Bruins center Marc Savard skates during hockey training camp Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
The Bruins are bringing training camp Team A to St. John's and figure to feature leading points scorer Marc Savard at center, captain Zdeno Chara on the backline and last year's Seventh Player Award winner, Tim Thomas, in goal. This group has been together for almost a week, and stands a decent chance at playing as one unit. But the group that hits the ice on the rock is also an eclectic mix of rookies, NHLers, AHLers and skaters hoping to win a job with the B's -- so there could be some breakout performances in the works.

Special attention should be paid to the three B's rookies who made the trip -- American born defenseman Matt Hunwick, formally captain of the Michigan Wolverines, and Canadian forwards Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand, who were recently featured on the Canada/Russia Super Series squad for Team Canada.

Thus far, all three players have made an outstanding impression at Bruins training camp and will look to open some more eyes as they take the ice with some of the B's veteran players. On Sunday, the three youngsters were part of a Black & Gold clad rookie team that handled the New Jersey Devils youngsters, 5-1. Marchand scored a goal in that contest, while Lucic and Hunwick played major minutes and showed prowess at both ends of the rink.

Lucic, known as a power forward in the mold of fellow Vancouverite Cam Neely, also battled with his fists on Sunday when he took on New Jersey's Mark Fraser and won the decision.

Hockey fans should also notice the return of long time Bruin forward P.J. Axelsson to the Bruins lineup. Axelsson, who lost a significant number of games due to injury last season, is seeing his first game action in quite some time. Many believe that the Swede's premature departure from last year's Boston squad, coupled with the loss of veteran sniper, Glen Murray, sealed Boston's DNQ playoff status during the last campaign.

This is a complete list of Bruins players who are expected to play on Tuesday:

Savard and Chara
Goaltenders

57 Jordan Sigalet
30 Tim Thomas
 
Defense
33 Zdeno Chara
21 Andrew Ference
48 Matt Hunwick
49 Matt Lashoff
45 Mark Stuart
6 Dennis Wideman
 
Forwards
11 P.J. Axelsson
43 Martins Karsums
12 Chuck Kobasew
46 David Krejci
32 Jeff Hoggan
62 Milan Lucic
63 Brad Marchand
13 Glen Metropolit
56 Petteri Nokelainen
91 Marc Savard
72 Peter Schaefer
22 Shawn Thornton
 
On Monday, in Wilmington, the lines in practice were:

Shaefer-Savard-Karsums

Lucic-Metropolit-Marchand
Axelsson-Krejci-Kobasew
Hoggan-Nokelainen-Thornton
 
Also on Monday, NewYorkIslanders.com reported that their club had brought 30 players with them on a swing through the Maritimes, so tomorrow night's squad that will take the ice against the Bruins might look considerably different than the team that took on the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday evening.

This was the NYI lineup, Monday:

New York Islanders' Meyer, left.
Goaltenders

35 Joey MacDonald
33 Mike Morrison

Defense
14 Chris Campoli
8  Bruno Gervais
2  Aaron Johnson
56 Dustin Kohn
44 Freddy Meyer
6  Matthew Spiller

Forwards
20 Sean Bergenheim
37 Kip Brennan
57 Blake Comeau
28 Tim Jackman
64 Olivier Labelle
51 Frans Nielsen
10 Richard Park
16 Jon Sim
12 Chris Simon
15 Jeff Tambellini
63 Josef Vasicek
29 Ben Walter

Monday night's Islander lines vs. Atlanta:

Tambellini-Vasicek-Sim

Bergenheim-Park-Labelle
Simon-Nielsen-Jackman
Brennan-Walter-Comeau

The Islanders dropped their game to Atlanta, 4-3, in overtime, when the Thrashers Garnet Exelby beat MacDonald via slap shot. Scoring for New York were Meyer and Matthew Spiller (2).
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