Twenty-three of the NHL’s 32 teams are in their CBA-mandated bye week, which aligns with the All-Star Break to provide a weeklong midseason break from the grueling grind of the league schedule. The other nine teams’ byes are delayed a week, mostly as an olive branch to national broadcasters who would not be thrilled with needing to fill programming holes for a full week.
Two of those nine clubs, in a significant bit of good fortune for the NHL, are two of the top teams in the league, and they will face off this afternoon at PNC Arena.
The Hurricanes did not skate this morning, but yesterday’s practice saw a few absences. One of those, Jaccob Slavin, did skate on his own outside the bounds of the practice, but Rod Brind’Amour was noncommittal when asked about his availability for today. Teuvo Teravainen and Brett Pesce both took maintenance days, but both are likely to be good to go for today’s game.
Here’s how the Canes will line up tonight, we think (and Rod will update things before the game if there are any changes):
Teuvo Teravainen — Sebastian Aho — Seth Jarvis
Andrei Svechnikov — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook — Jordan Staal — Jesper Fast
Paul Stastny — Derek Stepan — Stefan Noesen
Jalen Chatfield — Brent Burns
Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce
Calvin de Haan — Dylan Coghlan
Injuries and Scratches: Jaccob Slavin (lower body), Ondrej Kase (LTIR concussion), Max Pacioretty (IR Achilles)
The Bruins arrived in Raleigh overnight after blowing a last-minute lead last night. But unlike the Sharks, who did likewise in giving up a pair after scoring an empty-netter on Friday, the Bruins’ collapse might have even been worse: David Pastrnak scored the go-ahead goal with under a minute to play, but then Aleksander Barkov tied the game with three seconds left and Sam Bennett won it early in overtime.
Needless to say, the Bruins won’t be in great spirits tonight, both considering the style of the loss and the fact it consigned them to their first losing streak of the season. (In January!!)
Trent Frederic took a shot off the foot last night and missed the final two periods, but after the game coach Jim Montgomery said he thinks the third-line winger will be able to play with minimal time missed. That’s good news for the Bruins, who shook up their lineup before playing Tampa on Thursday and might do so again after that new lineup resulted in consecutive losses.
But with no skate to judge off of, we have only the previous game to go on, and here’s how the Bruins looked yesterday in Florida:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Taylor Hall
Pavel Zacha - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic - Charlie Coyle - Craig Smith
Nick Foligno - Marc McLaughlin - A.J. Greer
Matt Grzelcyk - Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm - Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort - Connor Clifton
Injuries and Scratches: Tomas Nosek (foot), Jake DeBrusk (LTIR lower body), Joona Koppanen (healthy), Jakub Zboril (healthy)
Referees: Jon McIsaac #2, Michael Markovic #31
Linesmen: Derek Nansen #70, Michel Cormier #76