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Gustavsson Expected in Goal, Question Marks on the Back End as Bruins Prep for Preds

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON — The Bruins will host the Nashville Predators on Monday night at TD Garden, fresh off a three game road trip in Western Canada.

Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).

Boston is currently on a season-best eight game point streak, with a 6-0-2 record in that span. While the start of the road trip was shaky, dropping a shootout loss in Edmonton and an overtime loss in Calgary, the Bruins brought their best effort in Vancouver for a 4-0 shutout of the Canucks.

“We’ve been on a pretty good run — I think we have points in eight or nine [games] now, so we want to continue to be better,” said Brad Marchand. “I thought we had a really good response last game and we want to continue to build off of that.”

“It’s a pretty quick turnaround, with a lot of travel in between, so we’ve got to make sure we’re really prepared to have a good game.”

The Bruins thought Saturday’s victory showcased the style and dominance with which they are capable of playing against any team.

“The intensity, the willingness to pay attention to details — we were pretty sharp throughout the whole game,” said Captain Zdeno Chara. “We had good legs, good jump, good focus.”

The key will be to carry that intensity into Monday’s game, and to start bringing that effort on a nightly basis.

“I think the confidence should carry over from a game like that and to go into that building and play that way should mean a lot to this team,” said defenseman Joe Morrow. “And to show everybody how we can play and to consistently bring that night in and night out, that’s all you can really ask for.”

Before the Bruins went on the road, they kept finding ways to win. That’s what helped lead to their six game win streak, and what helped them rebound with such a dominant win in Vancouver. Newcomer Landon Ferraro, who has now suited up in six games as a Bruin, has taken note of the type of team he joined.

“A team that doesn’t give up, that’s the biggest thing I learned quickly coming here,” said Ferraro. “It doesn’t matter if we’re down a couple goals, we’re always in it and that’s how you have to be in this league. If things aren’t going right, you’ve just got to find a way to make it work and try and make the best of it, and that’s what we’ve done so far.”

Nashville, meanwhile, comes to town having lost two straight, including a 5-4 overtime loss in Detroit at the start of their road trip. Their penalty kill has not been sharp and neither has their play in the defensive zone.

“We’ve got to clean up some areas in our own end and we’ve just got to be more disciplined,” said Preds Captain Shea Weber. “We’re going to box at the wrong time, the penalty kill’s trying to get through a tough stretch and we’re not making it easy on them.”

No Rest for the Weary

The Bruins are playing their third game in four nights on Monday against Nashville, and their fourth game in the last six days. Combine that with travel around Canada and a day full of travel on Sunday back from Vancouver with a three hour time difference, and Boston will have its work cut out to start the game with strong legs.

“It’s going to be tough — it’s hard enough coming back from the West, but having to play the day after travel makes it a little bit tougher,” said Ferraro. “But we’ve just got to make sure we get through that and get moving as quick as we can.”

The Black & Gold are playing just their second home game in an eight game span from Nov. 23 — Dec. 9. They’ll head right back on the road to face the Canadiens in Montreal on Wednesday night.

“You’ve just kind of got to keep it simple,” said Morrow. “Everybody here is well-conditioned for this, and I’m sure they’re used to it by now, having a lot of veteran players — so we’ve got to rest up this afternoon, eat some good food, and bring it again tonight.

Gustavsson Expected in Goal

Jonas Gustavsson was the first goaltender off the ice at pregame skate, indicated he’ll likely be the starter on Monday against the Predators.

Gustavsson has provided steady goaltending this season as Tuukka Rask’s backup. He was pulled from the game in Calgary after the Bruins allowed three goals on 11 shots in the first 23 minutes of the game, but his 5-1-0 record speaks for itself. He’s primed for a bounce-back performance.

Question Marks on Defense

Adam McQuaid left Saturday’s game in Vancouver before the midpoint of the first period after blocking a Jared McCann shot . McQuaid immediately reacted after the puck hit his left wrist. He did not return to the game, with his fourth and final shift ending with 6:55 left in the opening frame.

While there was no update on him following the game, McQuaid did take part in morning skate on Monday at TD Garden. His status remains in question for the matchup with Nashville.

“Don’t know yet [if he’s good to go],” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “We have some decisions to make today on our group.”

Defensemen Colin Miller and Dennis Seidenberg were both scratched from Saturday’s game in Vancouver, with Morrow getting back into the lineup and Kevan Miller returning from a concussion.

“There’s just decisions that have to be made,” said Julien. “There’s some guys that are banged up and, you know, that can or can’t play, so those are the decisions that I have to make.”

“It’s just — those are just decisions that every coach has to make with his team, so I can’t come out here and say this guy’s got this, this and this. Some guys may be playing; some guys may be not.”

While there are question marks on the back end, Jimmy Hayes will likely be the healthy scratch up front for the second straight game after sitting out Saturday’s game in Vancouver. He did not participate in the first set of line rushes during Monday’s pregame skate.

“I’m just going to leave it at I just make decisions and put the guys in that I feel are the guys that are giving us the best fit,” said Julien. “So dealing with Jimmy, I’ll deal with it internally.”

The Bruins were able to sustain a four line effort in Vancouver, and that presumably factored into Julien’s decision-making.

“I think there’s times where I’ve had to cut our bench down because I feel that we haven’t had enough players going and that’s a coach, again, just doing his job, and when you can have four lines doing what they did last game, it makes it a lot better and a lot easier no doubt,” said Julien.

Morrow Slides Smoothly into Lineup

Morrow slid back into the lineup in Vancouver after being a healthy scratch for 12 games. He logged 20 minutes in ice time (due in part to McQuaid leaving the game) and factored into the scoring with a heads-up play to assist on Marchand’s goal.

“It is a difficult thing to do and I think he deserves a lot of credit for playing the way he did — I think it was almost a month that he hadn’t played,” said Julien. “We needed him. He came up and he was ready.”

“It was a little nerve-wracking — I could have had a good game or a bad game, and I did everything I could to play well and keep it simple, and contribute to the team,” Morrow said.

Getting into game action isn’t easy after a long layoff.

“Practice isn’t anything like what a game would be like — you can practice all you want and practice and practice, but it’s really nothing like what a game’s like and the only way you can get experience and gain experience in this league is to play games,” said Morrow.

“So it definitely is nerve-wracking when you haven’t been in that 100 percent competitive state for a month, but yeah, there’s not much you can do — when you have to do it, you go out there and do your best and that’s all you can think about. If you overthink it, you definitely turn yourself around in the opposite direction.”

Ferraro Finding a Fit

In six games with the Bruins, Ferraro has two goals and two assists. He formed a solid fourth line with Zac Rinaldo and Tyler Randell on Saturday in Vancouver that contributed two goals, an strong forecheck and aggressiveness.

“I feel extremely comfortable so far — the guys have been great and with the line that we had last game, it’s three guys that like to like to keep it real simple and just keep pucks moving ahead and not much East-West, which is perfect,” said Ferraro. “All of us can skate and get in on it, so you don’t always have to worry about being the first guy in — someone will fill in, and then just like the fourth goal we scored, just get the puck to the net and kind of crash and find a rebound and try and put it in.”

Pastrnak Back Skating

David Pastrnak skated at TD Garden on Monday morning prior to the Bruins’ pregame skate. Pastrnak suffered a foot fracture blocking a shot on Oct 27 against Arizona and has missed 15 games as a result.

There was no timetable given when he suffered the injury, and there is still no estimate from the team on a possible return.

Given that the Bruins just returned from a long road trip and Pastrnak has not been available for game action in more than a month, Julien was unsure of his status and whether or not Monday marked his first day on the ice.

Lineup During Pregame Skate 11/7

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronBrett Connolly

Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciLoui Eriksson

Ryan SpoonerJoonas KemppainenFrank Vatrano

Zac RinaldoLandon FerraroTyler Randell

Zdeno CharaZach Trotman

Joe MorrowKevan Miller

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid

Dennis SeidenbergColin Miller

Projected Starting Goalie: Jonas Gustavsson // Backup: Tuukka Rask

Projected Healthy Scratch: Jimmy Hayes

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