ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Bruins will be right back at it tonight against the Minnesota Wild as they wrap up their back-to-back set at Xcel Energy Center. Just a day after a spirited 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to kick off the unofficial second half, Boston is aiming to build on what they believed was a strong character win.
"For our group, we like our position," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "We think that our game can grow. We've got to put a few more bricks into building the game. I thought last night we started to have a little bit more assertiveness in our play...it's one game at a time, one brick at a time."
Here's everything else you need to know for tonight's tilt against the Wild (8 p.m. ET on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub):
Changes Up Front
Cassidy will make at least one change up front as Par Lindholm slides into the lineup for Sean Kuraly as the fourth-line center. Boston's bench boss would like to pull a bit more intensity out of Kuraly's game and believes a night off could help accomplish that.
"Lindy's played well," said Cassidy. "Sean, again, little more competitive spirit we've got to pull out of his game. That's what we're looking for. We've taken other guys out."
With the likes of Lindholm, Anton Blidh, and John Moore on the roster, Cassidy is hoping that the players feed off of some internal competition.
"That's what we're aiming for," said Cassidy. "When you're in the lineup that there's a certain amount of appreciation of that. Again, we've said it, it's a privilege to put on the sweater. That's a bit of the message. Now, there's some veteran guys that are gonna go in no matter what.
"But there's still a message to some of the other guys that it's not automatic just because we're a good team with a good record that you're gonna be in there every night. That's what we're trying to create while still getting our game to where we want it to be."
Video: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy talks lineup changes
Danton Heinen is also a game-time decision after getting banged up late in last night's win over Winnipeg. If the winger is unable to go, Blidh would take his place.
"I don't know if he's gonna be able to go," said Cassidy. "That would put [David Krejci] back with [Jake] DeBrusk and [Karson] Kuhlman for tonight."
The Wild, winners of three of their last four, will be playing their first game out of the nine-day bye week. Minnesota (23-21-6, 52 points) sits 6 points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
All-Star Eric Staal leads Minnesota in scoring with 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) in 50 games, while stalwarts Ryan Suter (7-28-35), Zach Parise (19-13-32), and Jason Zucker (14-14-28) round out the top four.
Former Bruins winger Ryan Donato, who was traded for Charlie Coyle last February, has nine goals and six assists in 45 games.
Goalies Alex Stalock (11-8-3, 2.93 GAA, .903 save %) and Devan Dubnyk (9-12-2, 3.28 GAA, .893 save %) have split time between the pipes.
"Team who are out of the bubble, it's crunch time, they need to make a push here," said Coyle. "You never know against desperate teams. We've got to expect their best. They're a good team when they play well and do the right things. We saw a great game from last time, we squeaked one out. We're gonna expect that same game."
Video: Bjork talks mindset ahead of tilt against Minnesota
Saturday's Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom/Danton Heinen - Charlie Coyle - Anders Bjork
Anton Blidh - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Jeremy Lauzon
Scratches: Sean Kuraly and John Moore
Video: Kuhlman chats about game against Wild