The Bruins are still without a two-point game as we head into the final game of the trip. An 0-2-2 trip, so far, isn't exactly what the doctor ordered, especially what with the Florida Panthers closing in.
The Panthers did manage to lose to the Ottawa Senators yesterday, so the Bruins still hold a one-point edge on the cats. Florida takes on the Pittsburgh Penguins today, with both teams on the second half of a back-to-back.
The Blackhawks are currently looking up at two teams in their division, and are a lukewarm 4-3-3 in their last ten. Having shed Nick Leddy in the off-season, they're not quite as good defensively as they've been, but they're still a powerful offensive team that can shot-attempt their opponents into the ground.
Time: 3:30 ET (it's Hockey Day in America, so it's on NBC)
Place: That Crappy Stadium Where We Lost Some Playoff Games A Couple Years Ago
"Enemy" SBNation blog: Second City Hockey
Chicago Blackhawks, 3rd in the Central Division, Forward Lines:
Brandon Saad - Johnathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg - Brad Richards - Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Ryan Hartman
Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith
Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Duncan Keith - Michal Rosival
Kyle Cumiskey - Brent Seabrook
And In Net:
Corey Crawford (starter)
The Blackhawks are coming off a pretty disheartening 4-1 loss to the heretofore miserable Colorado Avalanche, and I'd say, "what with their recent form, they could be vulnerable"...except it's hockey, and it's the Bruins. Speaking of which:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - Loui Eriksson
Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - David Pastrnak
Jordan Caron - Gregory Campbell - Brian Ferlin
Could also be in: Daniel Paille, Bam Bam Cunningham\
That's the definition of my "best guess" on the lines. Seems like PBR have been getting a fair amount of time together again, which makes sense since Marchand/Bergeron were probably the only forwards to play especially well vs. St. Louis. My reasoning for the "second line" is that if Spooner's in today, Claude puts a good defensive winger on his line. I really, really don't know though, and it's anyone's guess which of the five fourth liners gets a game today.
Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski - Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Very quietly, Chara and Hamilton avoided a minus in the carnage vs. the Blues, and I actually thought they had a pretty good game -- just didn't get much in the way of help from the forwards/goaltending. While the short term results haven't been great, it's been nice to see Seidenberg paired with Bartkowski, if only because Bart is fairly adept at making a breakout pass. Regardless of whatever long term decision is made with Bart, seems we have all the evidence that we need that the Bruins defensive units are more effective with 44/54 broken up (for my money, McQuaid is still a viable third-pairing guy, so he's fine with Krug).
And In Net:
With Malcolm Subban back down in Providence after a sadly predictable pasting, it's either Rask or Svedberg today. For the record, Svedberg's SV% is still an above-average .915, even with the pastings he had received in his previous starts, so it would be nice to see him again sometime soon, if not this game.
Rask has appeared in 888 games in a row, but still seems likely to getting this start (as yet unconfirmed).
I've typed this about nine games in a row, it seems, but the Bruins could really use some points. Let's go B's.