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Blue Jackets at Bruins preview

Columbus eyes point in 12th straight game; Krug, Krejci return for Boston, 4-0-4 in past eight

by Matt Kalman / Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (18-14-8) at BRUINS (24-7-10)



The Game 

The Columbus Blue Jackets will look to extend their point streak to 12 games and the Boston Bruins will try to stretch their point streak to nine games when they play at TD Garden on Thursday.

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins will start his second straight game for the Blue Jackets, whose 11-game point streak (7-0-4) is the longest active streak in the NHL and the fourth-longest in Columbus history.

Defenseman Torey Krug and center David Krejci will return to the lineup for the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins, 4-0-4 in their past eight games. Krug missed three games with an upper-body injury; Krejci missed one game with a lower-body injury.

Goalie Tuukka Rask will start for Boston.


Players to watch

Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past six games, including his first NHL hat trick during a 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Bruins forward David Pastrnak has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) during an eight-game point streak.


They said it

"We're finding our way. It was ugly at times … but everybody is chipping in, everybody is involved in it, whether it be on the score sheet or just doing the little things. It's important playing as a team." -- Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski on Columbus' point streak

"You get into the later parts of January, maybe even early February, you know the weather's kind of crappy outside, just playing game after game, that is something you're aware of. … We're just trying to work on our game, and especially as we get some healthy bodies back in there, hope we can feel better about it." -- Bruins defenseman Torey Krug on the midway point of the season


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Nick Foligno -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Nathan Gerbe

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Kevin Stenlund

Jakob Lilja -- Alexander Wennberg -- Eric Robinson

Justin Scott -- Riley Nash -- Ryan MacInnis

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Dean Kukan

Elvis Merzlikins

Matiss Kivlenieks

Scratched: Gabriel Carlsson

Injured: Alexandre Texier (back), Andrew Peeke (finger), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Ryan Murray (lower body), Sonny Milano (lower body), Joonas Korpisalo (knee), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Oliver Bjorkstrand (rib/oblique), Emil Bemstrom (rib), Cam Atkinson (ankle), Josh Anderson (shoulder)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Charlie Coyle

Anders Bjork -- Sean Kuraly -- Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom -- Par Lindholm -- Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

John Moore -- Matt Grzelcyk

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: David Backes, Brett Ritchie, Steven Kampfer

Injured: Kevan Miller (knee), Connor Clifton (upper body)


Status report

Milano returns after missing eight games with an upper-body injury and will replace Texier. … McAvoy, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury, will be a game-time decision.


Stat pack

Nyquist has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his past nine games. … Chara, along with San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who are playing at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, will become the 12th, 13th and 14th players to play at least one NHL game in four decades. … Marchand has eight points (two goals, six assists) during a four-game point streak.

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