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Pastrnak Out as Bruins Finish Trip vs. Wild

Bruins look to earn fourth straight win

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. - David Pastrnak will not be in the lineup when the Bruins face off against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center. 

 

Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. local/NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub). 

 

Pastrnak has missed the Bruins' past two practices with "maintenance" and was labeled "day-to-day" on Wednesday by Head Coach Claude Julien. The injury is undisclosed. 

 

For the past two days in practice, Riley Nash has been skating on the right wing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.  

"It's about communicating and having a feel of where everyone's going," Bergeron said. "With Riley, he plays a different game than Pasta obviously but I think we just don't have to think too much out there. It's about playing the game and making sure we're in position and things will fall into place."

 

As a newcomer to the team this season, Bergeron's only frame of reference was playing against Nash when he was on the Carolina Hurricanes. 

 

"I was impressed with his offensive skills," said Bergeron. "I think he can make some great plays and get the puck to the net and he's pretty strong on it as well, and he's been pretty good on draws, so I was expecting him to be a great player for us and be a great addition, but he's playing even better than what I thought and he's been great for us."

 

For all of the projected lines, based on Wednesday's practice, jump to the end of this article.

 

Goalie Duel 

Thursday night's matchup will feature two of the NHL's hottest goaltenders, and two defensive-minded teams. 

 

On the Wild side, Devan Dubnyk is tied for first in the NHL in save percentage (.948) and is second in goals-against average (1.60), backstopping a team that has allowed the lowest goals against in the league (29 goals through 15 games). The Wild have only allowed 10 goals in its last nine games. 

 

Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask ranks first in the NHL in goals-against (1.54), is second behind Carey Price in wins with a 10-1-0 record, and is tied for third in save percentage (.951). He and Dubnyk each have three shutouts. 

 

"They're both playing well - I can't say too much about Dubnyk, I don't see him enough, but he's obviously he's been good," said Julien. "His save percentage, his goals against is extremely good, so he's got a good team in front of him, just like our goaltender does."

 

"Both teams really do a good job defensively and both teams right now are hoping to score more goals as well, so very similar situation."

 

"When they're both on the top of their game, they're both really good goaltenders," said Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau. "If they're both at the top of their game like they've been for the last little while, in all effects, it should be a real low-scoring, close game."

 

Playing Tight 

The Bruin have been used to winning close games lately, with their 2-1 and 2-0 wins over Arizona and Colorado. While they would like to break open the scoring more when they have the lead, their strong defensive game has made them comfortable playing in those tight situations. 

 

"The team effort's definitely there," said Bergeron. "I think buying into the system of - we all know how to play it, but if we're all on the same page, if we all stick to it and respect it, that's when it works, right? So I think that's what we're doing right now and we've got to definitely keep that going and Tuukka's been amazing for us."

 

Wild Outlook

The Bruins are in a much better position than the last time they faced the Wild, falling 5-0 at home on Oct. 25. On that night, Malcom Subban and Zane McIntyre filled in between the pipes with Rask and Anton Khudobin both injured. David Backes was also sidelined with his elbow injury. 

 

"They have a much different team here tonight," said Boudreau. "They have Rask in net, they have Backes back. I mean, they've got guys playing the way they're supposed to be playing. Everybody knows, when Boston plays the way they're capable of playing, they're better than adequate. They're one of the better teams in the league and we have to expect that tonight against them."

 

The Wild got Zach Parise back in their lineup on Tuesday against Calgary, when he returned from a lower-body injury. The forward felt hesitant in his first game back, but he'll be ready to get his game to another level against the Bruins on Thursday night. 

 

"I'm hoping it's going to keep getting better," said Parise. "These guys have been playing really well lately, so we've got to know it's not going to be that 5-0 game that we played in Boston. The team's just playing a lot better. So, just make sure we're prepared for them and worry about ourselves and what we can do to play better."

 

Raring to Go

After three days off from game action, the Bruins should not be lacking for energy, especially as they look for their fourth straight win and a strong end to their road trip. 

 

"I'd like to see us continue what we started, that's the main thing," said Julien. "I think we've been playing pretty well and hopefully after three days off, we still have that same approach to the game, that same kind of play that we've had lately and hopefully will not have taken a step backwards."

 

"Hopefully the energy level that we've gotten from the rest will show tonight, and go from there."

 

Beleskey Stitched Up

Matt Beleskey has a few stitches above his left eye, after a puck bounced up and hit him in the face during Wednesday's practice. 

 

"Yeah, a couple of stitches, a little puck to the eye," Beleskey smiled pregame on Thursday. 

 

Beleskey has had plenty of black eyes before. In his homecoming to Anaheim last season, he got high sticked directly under his right eye and had quite the black eye to show for it.

 

"It was kind of close but it's all right," said Beleskey, who was immediately helped by his teammates and trainers when the puck hit him during Wednesday's skate. "No concerns for tonight."

 

"I think my wife likes black eyes, so I'll be good," he laughed. 

 

Bruins Hold Optional Pregame Skate 

The Bruins held an optional pregame skate on Thursday, after two full practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

 

All three goaltenders were on the ice, including Anton Khudobin, Zane McIntyre and Tuukka Rask, who was been given a maintenance day on Wednesday to get more rest. 

 

McIntyre stayed on the ice for extra time with defensemen Colin Miller and Kevan Miller. Khudobin remains on Injured Reserve.

 

Eight forwards took part in the skate, including Bergeron, Beleskey, Nash, Tim Schaller, Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Spooner, Sean Kuraly and Austin Czarnik.  

 

Four blueliners also skated, including Brandon Carlo, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller and Colin Miller.

 

Kevan Miller remains on IR as he continues his recovery. He has not yet been cleared for game action.

 

Colin Miller's extra time on the ice suggests that Morrow could remain in the lineup. He's been skating on a defense pairing with John-Michael Liles.  

 

Most Recent Lines and Defense Pairings 

(from practice on Nov. 16) 

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Riley Nash

Ryan Spooner - David Krejci - David Backes 

Matt Beleskey - Dominic Moore - Austin Czarnik

Jimmy Hayes - Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly 

 

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -Adam McQuaid

Joe Morrow - John-Michael Liles

 

Projected Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask

 

Projected Scratches: David Pastrnak (undisclosed, day-to-day), Colin Miller

Injured Reserve: Kevan Miller 

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