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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Jets

Backes to sub back in as Boston looks to build momentum from win in Nashville

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - The Bruins will be aiming to carry over some momentum from their win in Nashville when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to TD Garden on Thursday night. Boston played one of its strongest all-around team games on Tuesday night in their 6-2 win over the Predators and are hoping that they can build on the effort that saw 14 different players register a point.

"We've just got to bring that same focus," said Charlie Coyle. "I think our start was on. We were ready to go, we were moving our feet, we weren't doing too much…we were just putting it behind them and our game picked up after that. Keep that same mindset and structure."

Here's everything else you need to know ahead of Thursday's game against Winnipeg (7 p.m. ET on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub):

Backes Subs In

After sitting out the last three games as a healthy scratch, David Backes will return to the lineup on Thursday night alongside Coyle and Danton Heinen on Boston's third line. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was pleased with the effort of Brett Ritchie in that spot on Tuesday in Nashville, but felt it was right that every player on the roster get into the lineup with the moms still in town.

"We always do what's best for the hockey club first, but we just felt like that was the appropriate thing to do," said Cassidy. "Ritchie, unfortunately, comes out. I think they play similar games. He actually had a real good game, so a little unfortunate timing, but if he carries that over, he'll be fine, he'll get his opportunity. I think David's certainly capable of doing things Ritchie can. Hopefully he can carry over what happened the other night."

Backes noted that he'll try to play his own style against the Jets, but is hoping to help continue the success that the Bruins' third line (goals from Heinen and Coyle) had in Nashville.

"They were impactful in the game," said Backes. "I'm gonna get an opportunity tonight, so try to continue that sort of role and get in on the forecheck, do what I do. I can't try to do what Ritch does even though we're similar players. I've got to do what I do best and try to make an impact with whatever opportunity I get."

Having been out of game action for about 10 days, Backes will also be trying to use any extra energy that he has to his advantage.

"Moms are still in town. Get to play in front of mom, that's always exciting," said Backes. "It's been a little while, so I'll probably be the freshest guy out there and I'll want to use that to my advantage. Hopefully get my legs moving, start skating, and hold onto some pucks.

"If I can do that, hopefully I can establish myself and have an impact on the game and earn some more opportunities going forward."

Video: Backes Speaks To Media Before Facing Jets on Thursday

Krug in Question

Torey Krug did not skate on Thursday morning because of an illness and is a game-time decision. Steven Kampfer is expected to slide into the lineup should Krug be unable to go.

"He had a touch of the flu, so we left him at home this morning," said Cassidy. "It's been going around."

In other lineup news, Joakim Nordstrom returns after a one-game absence with an illness of his own, leaving Par Lindholm as the other healthy scratch up front.

Zdeno Chara was a full participant in morning skate and had no lingering effects from taking a punch during his fight with Yakov Trenin in Nashville on Tuesday night. The B's captain did, however, have another follow-up procedure on his jaw to drain an abscess on Wednesday, per Cassidy.

Jaroslav Halak get the start in goal.

Video: Cassidy Addresses Media Before B's Take On Jets

Opposing View

The Jets are finishing up a four-game road trip (2-0-1 so far) and a stretch of three games in four days - which includes a 4-3 shootout over Toronto on Thursday night - and the Bruins are hoping to take advantage of that heavy schedule.

"Back-to-back games, I feel like those teams always have pretty decent starts," said Coyle. "You're still kind of on that high to bring your game. We've got to be ready for that. We want to be able to start well. It just goes to everything we've talked about. When you play a team that can maybe be fatigued, especially as the game goes on…we play simple, make them work in their own zone."

Winnipeg, in the West's top wild card spot (24-16-4, 52 points), is paced by a high-octane first line that includes leading scorer Mark Scheifele (21-28-49), Kyle Connor (21-21-42), and Patrick Laine (15-25-40). Former Bruins forward Blake Wheeler (14-25-39) centers the Jets' second line which is also provides plenty of pop with Nikolaj Ehlers (18-17-35) on the left side.

Josh Morrissey (4-20-24) anchors a back end that looks quite different than the last time the Bruins and Jets faced off last spring. Winnipeg no longer features Jacob Trouba (traded to Rangers) or Dustin Byfuglien (long-term suspension), but has gotten strong contributions from 24-year-old Neal Pionk (3-25-28).

Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck played on Wednesday night in Toronto and is 20-12-4 with a 2.69 goals against average and .919 save percentage. Backup Laurent Brossoit is 4-4-0 with a 3.51 GAA and .889 save percentage.

"They've got their top guys that are always a threat," said Cassidy. "Their D is probably a little underrated. They lost a lot of guys, but they're hanging in there. Hellebucyk obviously does a good job for them. I don't know if we'll see him tonight…they're a team that works hard. They've hung in there. People weren't sure when they lost a lot of their back end, especially with the Byfuglien situation, but they've done a good job.

"We don't see them a lot…I know them from last year, they were physical against us. Good matchup for us. Hopefully we can take advantage of their schedule - their third in four nights in three different cities. That's something we've got to be aware of and get going early."

Video: Coyle Speaks To Media Before Facing Jets on Thursday

Thursday's Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Anders Bjork

Danton Heinen - Charlie Coyle - David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner

 

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

John Moore/Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Steven Kampfer

 

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

 

Scratches: Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie

Video: Backes and The B's Get Set To Jet

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