BOSTON – When last the Bruins were on TD Garden ice, they left it with an unfamiliar feeling. While they picked up a point last Monday night against Vegas, the Black & Gold suffered their first home loss of the season, snapping their NHL record winning sterak.
Boston, now 14-0-1 on Causeway Street this season, will be aiming to avoid a second straight home loss when they host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. It will be no easy task, however, as the Bruins return from a three-game Western swing that left them with a lengthy day of travel on Monday.
As such, the Bruins adjusted their gameday routine to allow for more sleep and recovery.
“We travelled [Monday] because we felt sleep two days before is really important,” said coach Jim Montgomery, whose club is beginning a five-game homestand. “And we would have arrived at 5:30 in the morning and our sleep would have been discombobulated for the second day before And even though we’re a little bit dragging today, we felt we needed to skate later to get somewhere between a hybrid of West Coast time and East Coast time, so that’s why we wanted 11:15.
“And we were hoping that by the time the game time comes around today because we skated later, let them sleep in longer, and we had a full night’s sleep the night before, that will be better in the game because you would ideally like two days coming back from the West Coast because you your body acclimates one hour a day.”
The Islanders, meanwhile, have rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2021-22 campaign, as they currently sit in the East’s second wild card spot with a 17-12-0 record and 34 points. Mat Barzal leads the Isles in scoring with 30 points (three goals, 27 assists) in 29 games, while Brock Nelson paces the club with 14 goals.
“I think the structure is basically the same,” said Montgomery. “I think they seem to be playing with a little more pace…I can’t really see what I attribute that. And maybe it’s just an attitude difference, but they are still a defense first team still.”
Krejci Remains Sidelined
David Krejci will miss his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury. Montgomery did not seem overly concerned, however, noting that if it was the postseason, Krejci would be in the lineup.
“We’re just making sure we’re being cautious,” said Montgomery.
With Krejci sidelined, Pavel Zacha will remain as the second-line center between Taylor Hall other Jake DeBruskwhile David Pastrnak will ride with Brad Marchand other Patrice Bergeron as the top trio.
“What I like is [Pastrnak] can play with anyone and play well,” Montgomery said of reuniting the first line. “But specifically, when they’re together, it feels like the other team really gets concerned…so, it’s a little bit of a mental advantage I think our team can have.”
Zacha, Hall, and DeBrusk connected for the winning tally on Sunday night in Vegas and have shown some strong chemistry in the few games that have played together this season with Krejci out of the lineup.
“I think they’re really, really good players,” said Zacha. “They’re fast players…we’re really good through the neutral zone and just creating a lot of offense…I have to be a little bit better in D-zone, I’m trying to break out a little bit faster…
“But playing with wingers like that…it’s great. And I’m going to enjoy it. When I see them open, I have to give them the puck, and they can score, so it’s going to be fun to play with them.”
Montgomery did not confirm a starting goaltender.
Tuesday’s Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall-Pavel Zacha-Jake DeBrusk
Nick Foligno – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederic
AJ Greer – Tomas Nosek – CraigSmith
Hampus Lindholm – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
Linus Ullmark/Jeremy Swayman