The Boston Bruins will head to New York tonight to take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. This matchup will be the Bruins’ fifth preseason game, as they currently have a preseason record of 2-2-0. The Bruins have made a flurry of roster moves in the last week as the final roster is taking shape. Plenty of spots are up for grabs, especially on the fourth line, where solid play tonight and in the last preseason game could be the determining factor.
The Bruins skated this morning and according to Fluto Shinzawa of the Athletic the AM lines are as follows:
David Pastrnak will make his preseason debut tonight as he looks to show off his elite goal-scoring abilities and all the reasons he deserves to get paid top dollar. This has been the healthiest Pasta has been during an offseason which he has credited to him being able to really focus on his game and improve. Taylor Hall is still out with an injury that has left him week to week, so this will be the first time head coach Jim Montgomery will roll out the all-Czech line as Pavel Zacha will slide in and play alongside David Krejci and David Pastrnak.
Players to Keep an Eye On
Jack Studnicka will get the start on the second line as he looks to continue on an impressive preseason. Playing alongside Jake DeBrusk and Marc McLaughlin should help Studnicka produce offensively as he can demonstrate his playmaking ability. Studnicka has been especially impressive in the face-off dot this preseason as he looks to overtake Tomas Nosek for the fourth-line center spot.
Another guy fighting for a fourth-line spot is the hometown kid Marc McLaughlin who has had a strong preseason as well. McLaughlin was a force during the Bruins’ 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday as he recorded two goals, including one on the power-play. McLaughlin has certainly outplayed veterans Chris Wagner and Nick Foligno so far. McLaughlin also can play wing and center, showcasing his versatility which could come in handy.
Beecher and Lysell will continue making a case for a spot on the roster with their strong play. With the injury to Hall, Lysell has a chance to play in a couple of games if AJ Greer doesn’t secure the spot for himself. Beecher will continue to battle with Studnicka and Nosek for the fourth-line center spot, but with Studnicka needing to clear waivers before heading to Providence, Beecher will most likely be the one getting sent down. Both Beecher and Lysell could use the time at the AHL to continue their development with the extra playing time as they will both push for spots once again next season.
On defense, Stralman and Zboril will partner on the second pairing as both players will build on solid play so far. Zboril has looked like the Bruins’ best defensemen this preseason as he is coming off a season lost to a torn ACL. Zboril has showcased explosiveness on both ends of the ice and has demonstrated crisp passing that will be key for Jim Montgomery’s new defensive scheme. Stralman is looking to turn his PTO into a one-year contract, and it seems the only thing currently holding that up is the Bruins’ cap space situation, as they must make a trade to free up money. Stralman has looked solid throughout his opportunities for the Black and Gold and will build on that as he can be a key veteran presence for this team, whether it be on the third pairing or as the seventh defenseman.
The Game will take place tonight at 7 PM EST and can be viewed on TNT.