Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at TD Garden (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Vatrano sustained the injury in Thursday’s game against the Minnesota, when he was hit hard into the end boards by the Wild’s Nate Prosser. He did not practice on Friday.
“Yeah, Frank will miss tonight,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed pregame on Saturday morning. “He’s still day-to-day, but will miss tonight. He should be practicing with us [on Sunday] is what I presume. So that’s how close he’s getting.”
With only 11 forwards (defenseman Joe Morrow helped fill at forward during Friday’s practice to compensate), the Bruins recalled Max Talbot from the Providence Bruins on an emergency basis for Saturday’s game.
“Well, he’s an experienced guy,” Julien said of Talbot. “And I think that’s the comfort level…He comes, he competes hard, he understands what we’re trying to do here, so it’s not like we’re trying to teach somebody.”
“That’s I guess the luxury that we have with Max being in Providence. When you bring him up, you’re bringing a veteran player that’s played the game, but he’s not nervous about playing in this league and understands — he’s been with us since last year, so he understands exactly what we’re all about here.”
Talbot began the 2015-16 campaign with Boston, suiting up in two games, before being assigned to the P-Bruins. He was then was recalled from Providence for the Bruins’ three-game road trip from Nov. 5-8 against the Capitals, Canadiens and Islanders, in the wake of Chris Kelly’s injury. This marks his second recall.
“It’s part of the gig,” the NHL veteran said of the up-and-down status. “It’s something that, when you look at it, you go down there and play a little bit more, you play in different situations, and when you’re asked to be here or someone goes down, you just try to do the job as well as you can and adjust and help the team.”
“And hopefully when you come back here, you play well enough that you can stay here,” he added with a smile.
Talbot played for in Providence on Friday night, as the P-Bruins suffered a 4-1 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He has skated in seven games with Providence this season, notching one goals and five assists for six points. He’s been playing on both the power play and penalty kill and logging around 15 minutes a night.
“I had a chance to play a little bit more down there, so I feel healthy, feel good, ready to go, and help any way I can,” he said.
Talbot has been keeping tabs on Boston, watching the games and staying prepared.
“There’s always things you can do — if I play the best hockey I can play and show them that they can’t take me out of the lineup, that’s what I’m hoping I can do,” he said. “And if I play like I can play, at the top of my level, you can force some hands and stay here — that’s the goal.”
Home-and-Home with Leafs
The Bruins host the Leafs in the first of five meetings on the season between the Atlantic Division rivals. Their next matchup will come on Monday in Toronto.
The Leafs will be on the second leg of a back-to-back Saturday, after a 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Friday. They are 5-1-2 in their past eight games and 7-9-4 on the season under new bench boss Mike Babcock.
“What I’ve found from Toronto’s team is that over the past few weeks, you’ve really seen their structure come together,” said Julien. “They’re playing a lot better and they seem to be more in sync and probably a lot more comfortable with what they’re being asked to do, so that’s kind of a natural situation given that they’ve got a new coach that’s trying to put something into place here.”
“They seem to be real confident and obviously hard working…So as far as I’m concerned, I don’t think there’s any difference between preparing for this game than there was in the last game against Minnesota — we respect them a lot.”
For the past six games, the Bruins have followed up a loss with a win, but have been unable to string together two straight victories. They haven’t won two in a row since a stretch of four consecutive wins from Oct. 23-31.
“I think consistency is a big key word for us,” said Dennis Seidenberg. “It’s been, in the past few games, we had one good game and then fell right back to where we left off before that game. Just not good enough and we have to just start playing consistent hockey and get a win streak going.”
Boston will be looking to build off of their 4-2 win over the Wild on Thursday night and finally get over the hurdle.
“Again, we are at square one,” said Zdeno Chara. “We know that we’ve been in these kinds of situations a number of times. I know it’s close to Game 20, but we’ve got to figure it out.”
“We can’t be obviously playing good games…and then going backwards again.”
Projected Lineup vs. Toronto 11/21
Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—Jimmy Hayes
Matt Beleskey—David Krejci—Loui Eriksson
Ryan Spooner—Joonas Kemppainen—Brett Connolly
Zac Rinaldo—Max Talbot—Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara—Colin Miller
Dennis Seidenberg—Zach Trotman
Torey Krug—Adam McQuaid
Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson
Projected Scratch: Joe Morrow
Injured: David Pastrnak (foot), Frank Vatrano (upper body), Kevan Miller (upper body)