The Bruins (1-1-1) open their slate of 28 home games Thursday night in the new NHL season, and the Flyers (3-1-0) are first on the agenda. Faceoff: 7:05 p.m.
▪ The Bruins reported to the Garden Thursday morning for only the second time since facing the Lightning there last March 7. They practiced at their Causeway Street home Wednesday, a chance to reacquaint themselves with the environs, albeit with the building empty. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no fans will be permitted in the building in the near future.
▪ David Pastrnak (hip surgery in September) remains out of the Boston lineup and isn’t likely to make his 2021 debut for at least another three weeks. Pasta, who tied for the league lead in goals (48) last season, did some light skating with the club Wednesday for the first time. Per coach Bruce Cassidy, the prolific Czech winger could join some drills next week, provided he doesn’t experience any setbacks.
▪ The Bruins did not score an even-strength goal in any of their first three games. All of which has Cassidy emphasizing net-front presence for his forwards. “Haven’t seen enough of that,” said Cassidy. “We’re missing some of that. Shot mentality. Playing off the shot. Force a team to defend. For the goalie to defend rebounds. Force them to find pucks. Beat them to the good ice.”
▪ Ex-Boston University winger Joel Farabee (1-3—4) is third in Flyer scoring, behind Travis Konecny and ex-BC Eagle Kevin Hayes. Farabee, 20, was the 14th pick in the 2018 draft and turned pro after spending only one season with the Terriers. Both Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk had moved on to the Bruins by the time Farabee arrived at BU.
▪ Look for Tuukka Rask (1-1-0) in the Boston net, opposed by Carter Hart (2-1-0). Rask picked up his 50th career shutout when these two clubs last met in the regular season (March 10, 2020) on Broad Street. Rask stands eight victories shy of 300. He’d be only the 37th goalie in league history to reach that plateau.
▪ Grzelcyk was forced to exit Monday’s game on Long Island with 5:43 gone in the third period after wrenching his left shoulder in an awkward fall in the neutral zone. He is expected back vs. the Flyers. If there is some lingering soreness in the shoulder, impairing his shot, it’s possible he’ll see less time as the No. 1 point option on the power play.
▪ Slick backliner Shayne Gostisbehere, ex- of Union College, has yet to suit up for the Flyers. He was ineligible for the season opener, per the league’s COVID protocols.