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Need to Know: Bruins at Stars

Krejci a game-time decision as Boston opens 2019-20 season in Dallas

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

DALLAS - David Krejci's status for tonight's season opener against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center is still up in the air. The pivot was a full participant in morning skate, but coach Bruce Cassidy said Krejci was a "little tender" during the session and remains a game-time decision.

"Obviously getting closer, felt better today than yesterday. Going to talk to the trainers and make a decision for tonight," said Krejci, who suffered a lower-body injury in the penultimate preseason contest. "It's kind of hard to find a balance but obviously first game you want to be out there with your teammates. You never want to miss a game, but at the same time, gotta make the decision that's best for myself and my teammates.

"I don't want to go out there and hurt our chances to win. I want to be out there and feel 100 percent. I got to check with the trainers and go from there."

Video: Krejci speaks ahead of season opener

Krejci skated in his normal second-line center spot on Thursday morning, with Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman as his wings. Should he be unable to play, Cassidy will have to do some line shuffling as both Par Lindholm and former Stars winger Brett Ritchie would have to make their Bruins debuts.

If Krejci does play, Lindholm is likely to get the call as Boston's 12th forward due to his penalty killing skills and ability to provide some insurance up the middle in case Krejci has a setback. The 27-year-old Sweden native centered the Bruins' fourth line during pregame skate, with Chris Wagner on the right and Sean Kuraly shifting to left wing.

"If Krech plays, then we'll make out decision. But we're leaning toward Lindholm, just because he's more of a killer than Ritchie with [Joakim] Nordstrom being out," said Cassidy. "And if something should happen to Krech during the game, Lindholm plays center so it's an easier switch. We're going to guard against those things. That's what we're thinking right now."

Nordstrom (undisclosed) joined his teammates towards the end of pregame skate donning a white practice jersey.

Video: Lindholm preps for Bruins debut

Here We Go Again

Just over three months after the end of the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins are set to start anew their quest for a title. And as they open the organization's 96th season, there is plenty to look forward to.

"I don't think we have any nerves," said Brad Marchand. "It's tough to be nervous for the first game of the season when you just went to the Finals. I think the biggest thing is making sure we continue to prepare the way we always have and realize that we want to start on a really good note here and continue to build our game the way have throughout camp. But I think we're all excited to get it going and see what this season brings."

Opposing View

The Stars have Stanley Cup aspirations of their own this season as they look to improve on their seven-game, second-round loss to the eventual champion St. Louis Blues. Dallas returns its core group of veterans, including Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop, leading scorer Tyler Seguin (80 points and 33 goals last season), and captain Jamie Benn.

Dallas also added former Sharks star and three-time All-Star Joe Pavelski on July 1. Pavelski, who had 38 goals in 75 games last season, is likely to play on the Stars' top line with Benn and Seguin.

"I imagine they're gonna be pretty good, a lot of talent on that line," said Marchand. "Pavelski, with the way he can work the net front with those two guys is gonna be very dangerous. A line we're gonna have to be ready to battle with tonight."

On the back end, Dallas boasts a trio of stellar blue liners - Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell, and John Klingberg, all of whom reached the 10-goal mark last season. Last season, Heiskanaen became the first rookie defenseman in Stars history to skate in all 82 regular-season games.

"They're a good defensive team, they're big, they're heavy, they're gonna finish their checks," said Cassidy. "We're going to have to be ready to compete. Guys coming out of training camp, haven't played a lot of games.

"That's one of the biggest challenges for them is the urgency level goes up a lot. We've got to be ready for it. We've got a veteran group, hopefully they are."

Video: Cassidy speaks ahead of season opener

Thursday's Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhlman

Danton Heinen - Charlie Coyle - David Backes

Sean Kuraly - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner

 

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton

 

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

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