The NHL season is officially underway, and the Boston Bruins will kick off their season tomorrow night on the road. The Bruins head to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Capitals as they look to start the season with a win to set the tone.
This year’s training camp has produced many position battles as all three spots on the fourth line seemed up for grabs. After six preseason games of watching players excel and fail, the Bruins officially have their roster. The last few days saw names like Nick Foligno, Mike Reilly, and Chris Wagner all hit the wavier wire, but they all cleared. Wagner was the only player to head to Providence while the other two returned to Boston in what seemed to be just on-paper transactions to become cap compliant as the Bruins put Charlie McAvoy and his $9.5 million cap hit on LTIR.
When the Bruins take the ice tomorrow night at 7 PM EST, there will be some interesting names in the lineup that many fans weren’t expecting.
According to Fluto Shinzawa of the Athletic, fans should expect the following lines for game 1:
The Top-9 Is No Surprise
With Taylor Hall back from his injury earlier than expected, Jim Montgomery will slot him on the top line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk. Montgomery will keep the Czech line in place after the strong chemistry they displayed throughout the preseason and especially against the New York Rangers. Zacha will benefit the most as he has a high-end player-maker in Krejci and an elite goal-scorer in Pasta on his line. This will allow Zacha to use his high motor and hard work to make plays on both ends of the ice.
It is no surprise that A.J. Greer will get an opportunity on the third line early in the season. The young winger earned the spot with his strong preseason play as he impressed the coaching staff and his teammates. He certainly outplayed the bottom six veterans and young players as well. Greer could be the jumpstart right away that Coyle and Smith need to get hot right from game one. Expect this line to push play and be a matchup problem for other teams if Greer is the real deal.
What Is Going On With The Fourth Line?
The biggest surprise on this opening night lineup is who Montgomery has chosen to roll out on his fourth line. While it’s great that Jakub Lauko is finally getting a chance to show what he can bring to the ice, his two linemates raise questions.
Jack Studnicka proved this preseason that he is more deserving of the opportunity than Tomas Nosek, who simply did not impress anyone. While it’s only game one and Studnicka, who made the team, will get his chances, his first chance should be game one. The Bruins have talked all training camp about putting their best players on the ice, and it doesn’t seem to hold true for opening night’s game.
The other head-scratching move is Nick Foligno, who looked terrible throughout preseason besides his last game. While Trent Frederic did not impress either, he is more deserving than Foligno to be in the lineup as he still has upside, and we won’t even talk about how Marc McLaughlin outplayed all of them and ended up back in Providence.
Starting Goalie Still Up In The Air
While the lines are pretty much set for tomorrow’s game, head coach Jim Montgomery has not named a starting goaltender for game one. The first-year Boston coach is keeping the answer a secret for now as he has not announced if he will roll with the veteran Linus Ullmark or the second-year pro-Jeremy Swayman. Either goaltender will be a great choice but fans will be interested in seeing how Montgomery will decide who’s in net during the season.