Preview: Flyers at Bruins
The Boston Bruins boast one of the NHL’s most productive top lines, with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scoring 19 of the team’s 31 goals and posting a combined plus-19 rating and 44 points this season. The top-heavy Bruins will look to that line once again on Thursday as they open a two-game homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pastrnak recorded his fourth career four-point performance (two goals, two assists) on Tuesday as Boston salvaged the finale of its four-game road trip with a 4-1 win over Ottawa. “His abilities are so much better than everyone else’s, the way he sees the ice, his confidence level right now, it’s a lot of fun to watch,” Marchand said of the 22-year-old Pastrnak, who collected two goals and three assists in three encounters with Philadelphia last season. “They’ve been playing together for a couple years now and each player brings a little something to the line,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said of the Bruins’ celebrated trio. The 30-year-old Giroux, who saw his team felled by Colorado’s vaunted top line in Monday’s 4-1 setback, flustered Boston in the teams’ last meeting as he capped a two-goal performance by scoring in overtime of a 4-3 win on April 1.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCS Philadelphia, Sportsnet 360, TVAS, NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (4-5-0): Second-year forward Nolan Patrick has returned from an upper-body injury with a flourish, scoring for the second time in as many games on Monday. While the 20-year-old has hit the ground running, the Flyers have failed to gain any traction as they have traded losses and wins over the last seven contests (3-4-0). Travis Konecny is expected to return to the top line with Giroux and Sean Couturier, with coach Dave Hakstol saying that the speedy Konecny “has to be a worker and has to let his dynamic abilities help him be a good player on that line.”
ABOUT THE BRUINS (5-2-2): Tuukka Rask turned aside 38 of 39 shots against the Senators and returns to TD Garden, where he has won both of his starts this season while recording a .923 save percentage. While those numbers are solid, the former Vezina Trophy recipient’s career statistics versus Philadelphia are significantly better (14-2-3, 1.99 goals-against average, .930 save percentage). Bergeron, who had a goal and two assists versus Ottawa, has lit up the Flyers for 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in 44 career encounters.
1. Philadelphia rookie C Mikhail Vorobyev will return to the lineup on Thursday after serving as a healthy scratch in the previous three games.
2. Boston has outscored its opponents by a 20-13 margin in 5-on-5 play this season.
3. Flyers G Michal Neuvirth (lower body) was loaned to Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Wednesday for a conditioning assignment.