Injury-plagued Bruins look to end two-game losing streak at Winnipeg
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — A few quick laps to warm up for the Bruins’ Thursday night game against the Jets at Bell MTS Place (8 p.m., NESN):
■ Both teams are trying to end two-game losing streaks. Winnipeg (40-25-4) lost at Washington on Sunday, and to San Jose on Tuesday. The major focus for Boston (42-19-9): tightening a defense that allowed 11 goals in the last two games (at Pittsburgh, at Columbus). Yes, they’re injury-riddled (missing important pieces David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Marcus Johansson, Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller), but stopping this mini-slide is their expectation, given how well they’ve handled injuries this season. Entering Thursday, the Bruins (93) remained 4 points ahead of Toronto (89) for second place in the Atlantic Division.
■ Coach Bruce Cassidy did a bit of line-juggling to fit call-up winger Paul Carey (No. 34) and defenseman Connor Clifton (No. 75) in the lineup. Carey will skate on the left side of David Krejci and Charlie Coyle. David Backes will replace Danton Heinen on the top line, with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Heinen takes his five-game assist streak to a Joakim Nordstrom-Trent Frederic third line. On defense, Clifton will start the game with Steven Kampfer, with John Moore replacing Krug as Brandon Carlo’s partner.
Bruins at Jets, projected lineup:— Matt Porter (@mattyports) March 14, 2019
■ The next point for Marchand (30-55—85), who has a point in each of his last eight games (6-8—14), will set a career high. He hit the 85-point mark for the third consecutive year. He is likely to see a lot of the Jets’ third line of Brendan Tanev-Adam Lowry-Bryan Little, and the top D pair of Nathan Beaulieu-Jacob Trouba.
■ Tuukka Rask, yanked in Columbus after surrendering five goals on 24 shots, was back in goal. Now 16-1-3 in his last 20 decisions, he’ll face Winnipeg, first in the Central Division, which has scored 25 goals in March so far (T-1st, NHL). The Jets’ power play is best in the league at home (31.8 percent), thanks to captain Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and fellow Finn Patrik Laine, who is looking for his second 30-goal season (29-17—46). Boston has killed 22 of its last 24 penalties against the Jets. Rask also might face a shootout, since that’s how the last three Bruins-Jets games ended. Winnipeg has won the last two.
■ The Jets are likely to start Connor Hellebuyck, whose save percentage has dipped from .924 to .909 this year. A Vezina finalist last year, the ex-UMass Lowell backstop allowed five goals on 36 shots Tuesday night against the Sharks, and dropped to 2-5-0 in his last seven decisions (.894).