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Need to Know: Bruins at Wild

Group of core players to sit, Senyshyn to debut in road finale against Minnesota

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Bruins will wrap up the road portion of their regular-season schedule on Thursday night when they visit the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Boston will be without Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Charlie McAvoy, who will all sit out for rest purposes.

Chris Wagner, who is dealing with a lower-body injury, also will not play.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said that all five players could return to the lineup for the season finale on Saturday against Tampa Bay at TD Garden.

"I suspect those guys will go back in Saturday and we'll look at some other players for that game depending on how tonight goes," said Cassidy, who will be coaching in his 300th career game.

Marcus Johansson took part in an optional pregame skate on Thursday morning and is expected to play. The winger has been dealing with the "residual effects" of a collision with Krejci during Tuesday's win in Columbus.

"I think he'll be ready to go," said Cassidy. "If not, March would have to go in or we play seven D. But I think he's gonna play."

Danton Heinen, who sat out against the Blue Jackets because of an illness will be back in the lineup.

Even with a number of key pieces taking the night off, Cassidy expects a competitive effort from his group, especially with a handful of young players sliding into the lineup, including former first-round pick Zach Senyshyn, who will be making his NHL debut.

Read more about Senyshyn's debut.

"I expect us to play well," said Cassidy. "We still have things we need to clean up. We play to win every night. I still think we've got a lot of good players, a lot of hungry players, motivated players.

"Obviously [Senyshyn and Trent Frederic] are trying to get their foot in the door. Danton Heinen is back in. I assume he'll have some jump. Charlie [Coyle's returning to Minnesota]. Johansson's building chemistry there. Jaro [Halak] back in the net. [Connor] Clifton-[Steven] Kampfer had to sit a few games, so I think there's plenty to play for.

"As a team, we want to get to win No. 49, right? Once the puck drops, one of the best things about our team is they're a very competitive group no matter what the situation is. I don't see us not having the juice."

Video: Senyshyn talks first NHL Callup

Familiar Foes

It will be reunion of sorts for players on both teams, with Coyle and Ryan Donato both playing their former squads for the first time since they were traded for each other in February.

Read more about Coyle's return to Minnesota.

Donato, who was sent to the Wild along with a 2019 fifth-round pick, played 46 games with his hometown Bruins over the last two seasons, notching 18 points (11 goals, 7 assists). The Scituate native and former Harvard standout has 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) in 20 games with Minnesota.

"It's a different change of pace, "Donato said of his new team. "It was an emotional roller coaster, there's ups and downs. When I got here, I was more consistent with being up and being positive. I'm not saying that had anything to do with Boston by any means, but once I got here that's how I felt. I think that's what led to me being comfortable and creating more chances and getting more points."

Video: Coyle readies to play former team

Thursday's Projected Lineup

Jake DeBrusk - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Zach Senyshyn
Danton Heinen - Trent Frederic - Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom - Noel Acciari - David Backes

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Kevan Miller
Connor Clifton - Steven Kampfer

Jaroslav Halak
Tuukka Rask

Scratches: Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Chris Wagner.

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