The forward was not on the ice for pregame skate at TD Garden, with callup Alex Khokhlachev in his spot on a line with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson.
“We’re just giving David a little bit more time there — he’s still feeling that shot he got in the foot,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “So we’re giving him a little bit more time to heal here. He’s not feeling 100 percent comfortable, so we’ve called up Koko to replace him.”
Pastrnak got hit with a shot towards the end of the Bruins’ game on Oct. 27 against the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden, and missed the second half of the third period. He stayed off the ice for one day, but was back in action for the Bruins’ back-to-back against Florida and Tampa Bay and for practice on Monday.
While he rests up, Khokhlachev is expected to get his opportunity at the NHL level. Through 10 games in Providence this season, Khokhlachev has four goals and is tied for the first in the AHL with nine assists and 13 points.
A usual centerman, he’s been playing on both the left and right wing with the P-Bruins this season — and that’s where he’ll likely get his chance on Tuesday night.
“I think a lot of what he’s done in Providence… I think he’s a good playmaker, he’s a smart, heavy player and you know, he’s leading the league right now in American League so certainly deserves an opportunity to come up here and help us out,” said Julien. “And he has been playing the wing for the most part in Providence this year, so he’ll get a chance to do that with us as well.”
While it is unknown how long Pastrnak will be sidelined for — Julien labeled his rest time as “a few days” — Khohklachev is looking to make the most of his chance up with the big club, and hopefully build on his four games of NHL experience.
“I need just to play good and focus on this chance,” said Khokhlachev. “I’m playing with really good players and this is my opportunity right now.”
While the B’s 2011 draft pick has played at center his past two seasons in the organization, he’s not too worried about the switch to wing, whether it’s short-term or long-term.
“I feel comfortable. I’ve played 10 games [on the wing] back in Providence, so I feel good,” he said. “Playing for Boston, I don’t care where I play — wherever they put me. If I have a chance to play for Boston on the wing, I will play wing.”
Telling Week on Tap
The Bruins host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night (7:00 p.m. ET, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub), before heading back on the road for a three-game trip against the Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders.
Boston should be embracing the challenging week. After going 6-0-1 and remaining a perfect 5-0-0 on the road, they will be able to measure themselves against four of the NHL’s top 10 teams. Dallas is second in the League at 9-3-0, with Washington fourth at 8-2-0 and Montreal leading the NHL with an 11-2-0 record. The Islanders are 10th at 6-3-3, and Boston will face them in a 5:00 p.m. game on the second leg of a back-to-back after travel from Montreal.
In short: it won’t be an easy.
“One game at a time,” said defenseman Joe Morrow. “It’s pretty important to win every single game you can and do whatever you can to do that, so we’ve had a good week preparing, a good past couple of games, and everybody’s on a pretty good confidence high.”
“So just go in, play our game, keep it simple and see what the outcome is — and hopefully we can stick to that.”
Eriksson Always Excited to Face Former Team
Loui Eriksson may be in his third season with the Bruins, but Dallas will always be the place where he first established his NHL career, playing seven seasons there from 2006-13 before the trade.
“It’s always special to play against your former team,” said Eriksson. “And they’ve been great so far this season, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us.”
“Hopefully we can play as we’ve been playing lately — we’ve been playing real well as a team, so we just have to keep doing that and try to outwork them and get the win.”
Morrow never suited up for Dallas, but played nine games with their AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, before coming over to Boston in the Eriksson trade.
“There’s always incentive to show that you’re worth a lot more than they thought you were at one point,” said Morrow. “It’s always fun playing people you know and organizations you’ve been with.”
The Stars come into Boston on the second leg of a back-to-back, having lost 4-1 in Toronto on Monday night. Dallas outshot Toronto 44-26 but Head Coach Lindy Ruff didn’t think his team deserved to win, given the missed assignments to led to goals.
Prior to the loss, Dallas had been on a three game win streak.
“Any good team that comes off a loss will always look to bounce back,” said Julien. “So even if they are playing their third in four nights, I expect them to be no different than Arizona was when they came here [on a back-to-back] — they came out hard and they came out skating, and we did the same thing in Tampa Bay.”
“They’re a great team: they’ve got good speed, they’ve got good skill up front — high skill up front — they score a lot of goals, and their D’s are going to be up on the attack all night long. So this is where we have to play a smart game. We can’t allow them to have outnumbered situations.”
“A team like that that likes to play very fast-paced, you can kind of catch them on a transition game and work against it if they’re a little risky in the offensive zone — you can use that as a weakness,” said Morrow. “So we just have a play a very good defensive game — that’s what we pride ourselves on — and the offense will always come.”
—The Bruins have allowed one goal or less in their past three games, while scoring at least three goals in each (with 6-0, 3-1 and 3-1 wins).
—Boston’s goal differential is eight (39 goals for, 31 goals against). Dallas’ is seven (41 GF, 34 GA).
—The matchup features two of the NHL’s three starts for the month of October. David Krejci received Third Star honors from the League after recording 15 points in October with seven goals and eight assists to currently rank fourth in the NHL. Dallas’ Jamie Benn was named First Star after helping his team to a 9-2-0 record in October with a League-leading 17 points and nine goals. He notched his 10th goal in Toronto to give him 18 points.
Projected Lineup vs. Dallas
Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson—David Krejci—Alex Khokhlachev
Matt Beleskey—Ryan Spooner—Jimmy Hayes
Chris Kelly—Joonas Kemppainen—Zac Rinaldo
Zdeno Chara—Colin Miller
Torey Krug—Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow—Kevan Miller
Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson
Healthy Scratches: Tyler Randell, Zach Trotman
Injured: David Pastrnak (foot)