Updated 3x at 3:03 PM: The Detroit Red Wings battle the Boston Bruins this evening (7:00 PM on NBCSN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/NESN/97.1 FM), and the morning skate revealed that the Wings will start Jared Coreau opposite Anton Khubodin, with Martin Frk drawing into the lineup as well.
The Bruins are a little shaken up after finding out that Charlie McAvoy will miss a month with a sprained MCL (Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask will also miss tonight’s game), but the Boston Globe’s Kevin Dupont notes that the B’s haven’t exactly had a hard time winning games this year:
Bruins 19-5-2 (.769) in ’18 calendar year.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) March 6, 2018
Gionta, 2GP, 0-3–3.
Nash, 4GP, 2-1–3.
Wingels, 2 GP, 1-1–2
Holden, 2 GP, 0-2–2
Total, 10GP, 3-7–10#bruins
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) March 6, 2018
NHL.com posted a Bruins morning skate update:
“We’ll be without Charlie for a little bit but we’ve got lots of depth and he will be back,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “… Hopefully he heals quick and keeps his conditioning up.”
McAvoy, 20, has 32 points (seven goals, 25 assists) in 59 games and averages 22:06 of ice time per game, second on the Bruins to defenseman Zdeno Chara (23:11).
“I think just the rest of the guys as a whole need to be ready to play a few more minutes, but at the same time don’t get away from what we’ve been doing successfully this whole year,” Grzelcyk said. “So keep it simple but if you can create a four-man attack, it’d be huge, especially without Charlie in the lineup. We’re obviously going to miss him but we got to do our part.”
The Bruins also are missing forward Patrice Bergeron and goaltender Tuukka Rask. Bergeron has a fractured right foot sustained against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 24 and is scheduled to be re-evaluated next week. Rask has a lower-body injury and won’t play against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, NESN, NHL.TV).
Cassidy said Rask skated Tuesday but is unsure if he’ll be available to back up Anton Khudobin.
“[Rask] is feeling better,” Cassidy said. “We’ll make a decision after the skate, talk to Tuukka, and if he feels if he had to go in and he could do it, he would back up. Otherwise we would look at a goaltender from Providence (American Hockey League).”
The Bruins (40-15-8) are second in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs.
Also, from NBCS Boston’s Joe Haggerty:
As it is right now, the Bruins are going through a hellish month of March without their best player in Patrice Bergeron, their best rookie in McAvoy and currently without their No. 1 goaltender in Tuukka Rask as he’s not starting for the second straight game with a “minor lower body injury.” Brandon Carlo will be stepping into McAvoy’s top pairing spot alongside Zdeno Chara during 5-on-5 play, but Bruce Cassidy indicated it’s going to take a village to replace the multi-dimensional young defenseman in the short term.
“It’s like when we lost Bergeron, we have to do it by committee on the back end with Charlie’s workload,” said Cassidy. “Brandon [Carlo] is going to step and have the matchups right away…kind of like Riley Nash [in Bergeron’s spot] in 5-on-5 play. On the power play, Nick Holden when he was acquired had some of that on his resume. Maybe a little more falls on [Matt] Grzelcyk or a fourth forward.
“What we’re going to try and do is not ask one player to try and replace Charlie. It will be different guys. On the penalty kill we had other guys ahead of Charlie. He did a good job on it. Don’t get me wrong. But we have [Zee], Kevan [Miller], Carlo and Adam [McQuaid], so that part of it becomes a little easier to manage.”
Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Detroit Red Wings based on Tuesday morning skate at TD Garden with Bergeron, McAvoy, Rask and Noel Acciari all out of the lineup:
The Red Wings posted their lineup quite early…
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 6, 2018
The Free Press’s Helene St. James also posted an early video of coach Jeff Blashill and forward Martin Frk speaking with the media about Frk’s spot on the team (or the lack thereof)…
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 6, 2018
Update: Here’s the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa on Coreau starting:
“Jared will start in goal tonight,” said Blashill, who added this particular start was not necessarily part of a longer-range plan.
“I knew I was going to try to get him in here at one point. You know, I’ve got faith in him as a goalie,” Blashill said. “I’ve said that before, and so it was a matter of the right opportunity.”
Coreau said he knew Monday he would start. The only goalie at the optional skate Monday, he facilitated shooting drills for the 14 Red Wings who participated.
“It feels good,” Coreau said. “I think getting here yesterday, knowing that I was playing and walking out into the stadium, it just felt comfortable, this time. I think last year, there was a lot of new experiences for me, and I think part of that was some of the excitement that came with it; some jitters. I feel ready, the most ready I ever have,” said the undrafted, 26-year-old, whom the Wings signed as a free agent in 2013.In 14 NHL games, Coreau has 3.46 goals-against average and an .887 save percentage. But he performed much better, at times, than those indicators of poor play.The team is 5-4-3 with Coreau in net.After scoring three goals in the first four games and six in the first 16, a 30-goal pace, Frk has just four goals since missing eight games with an injury, from Nov. 15-30. Frk, 24, has not played in five of the last eight games, since Feb. 17.“He’s back in tonight. I talked to him a little bit,” Blashill said. “He’s got to go in and play with confidence, and that confidence has to come from within and when he does that, he’s a good player.”
The endearing Detroit Red Wings forward has been in and out of the lineup during the past few weeks, a challenging position for a young player aspiring to be a regular.
“It’s something that no one wants to do,” Frk said after Tuesday’s morning skate at TD Garden. “It’s tough, you know. You are trying to stay positive. Definitely I don’t want to do this but that’s the decision and I have to understand that.”
He is penned in to play in the Tuesday evening game against the Boston Bruins on the fourth line, with Luke Glendening and Luke Witkowski. Frk had been scratched in five of the previous eight games, even as the Wings have struggled to score (entering Tuesday, their 2.55 goals-per-game average was fifth-lowest in the NHL) and Frk’s 12.7 shooting percentage ranked third on the team among players who’d played at least 50 games.
Coach Jeff Blashill said he hasn’t lost faith in Frk.
“He’s got to go in and play with confidence and that confidence has to come from within and when he does that, he’s a good player,” Blashill said. “It’s one of those things, I think sometimes as a player — the easiest times is when you get lots of ice time and you’re on a top-three line and maybe on a special teams role, and the hardest time is when you’re not. But the guys that grind through and find a way to be effective in those roles are guys that end up earning more ice time after that.”
Coreau gets the call tonight against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden (7 p.m., NBC Sports Network exclusive), where the Red Wings have lost seven in row in the regular season and nine consecutive games including the playoffs.
Overall, the Bruins are 13-1-1 in their past 15 against Detroit and have won the past five meetings.
The Bruins (40-15-8) have won three in a row and are 34-8-4 in their past 46.
The Red Wings (26-29-10) have lost three in a row. They haven’t dropped four consecutive games in regulation since Feb. 9-15, 2017.
The Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron (foot) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (knee). Goaltender Tuukka Rask is out with a lower-body injury, so Anton Khudobin gets the call. He’s 14-4-4, with a 2.39 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.
Coreau’s performance from now until the end of the season will go a long way toward deciding whether the Red Wings re-sign him in the off-season.
Coreau, 26, is due to become a Group VI (unrestricted) free agent because he’s appeared in fewer than 28 NHL games of 30 minutes or less by age 25.
DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji penned an article about Coreau starting…
“It feels good,” Coreau said after the morning skate at TD Garden. “Getting here yesterday, knowing I was playing, walking out into the stadium, it just felt comfortable this time. I think last year there was a lot of new experiences for me and I think part of that was some of the excitement that came with it. There’s some jitters, but I feel ready. I feel the most ready I ever have.”
Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Coreau’s start was not planned all along.
“I knew I was going to try to get him in here at some point,” Blashill said. “I got faith in him as a goalie, I said that before, and so it’s just a matter of the right opportunity. Obviously, Jimmy (Howard) has played a lot of hockey here lately, too, and so it gives Jimmy a rest and gives us a look at Jared.”
Coreau played in 14 games last season, going 5-4-3 with a 3.46 goals-against average, .887 save percentage and two shutouts.
The 6-foot-6 netminder earned AHL Goaltender of the Month honors for February, going 4-0-2 with a 1.46 goals-against average, .951 save percentage and two shutouts.
“The start of the year was a little slower than I wanted, so when I evaluated my games and my starts up until just before Christmas, I think the answer that I came up with was just more intensity,” Coreau said. “So I brought more intensity into the games while still remaining under control. I think some guys can be really intense and start scrambling, lose their net. It was important to remember the intensity, but also staying under control.”
Here’s NHL.com’s Matt Kalman’s game preview as well:
The Boston Bruins will look for their fourth straight win but will be without defenseman Charlie McAvoy when they face the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden on Tuesday.
McAvoy, who’s second on the Bruins in average ice time (22:06) behind Zdeno Chara (23:11), will be re-evaluated in four weeks because of a sprained left MCL he sustained in a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
The Bruins are 16-5-0 in their past 21 games and trail the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points for first place in the Atlantic Division with three games in hand.
The Red Wings will look to end a three-game losing streak. They are nine points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Players to watch
Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin has four assists in his past five games.
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug has five points (goal, four assists) during a three-game point streak.
They said it
“I’ve got faith in him as a goalie, I’ve said that before. And so it’s just a matter of the right opportunity and obviously Jimmy’s [Howard] played a lot of hockey here lately too, so it gives Jimmy a rest and gives us a look at Jared.” — Detroit coach Jeff Blashill on giving Jared Coreau his first NHL start of the season
“It could’ve been worse, obviously. Didn’t look that bad when it happened. We’ll be without Charlie for a little bit but we’ve got lots of depth and he will be back … hopefully he heals quick and keeps his conditioning up.” — Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on injured defenseman Charlie McAvoy
Here’s the Bruins’ pre-game report, too:
Charlie McAvoy, Noel Acciari and Tuukka Rask are all out. Matt Grzelcyk, Tommy Wingels and Anton Khudobin are in.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 6, 2018
Update #3: NESN also posted a pre-game report…
The Bruins will have to make due without Charlie McAvoy, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask as they square off with the Red Wings for the final time this season. pic.twitter.com/gBQWH02Zn8
— NESN (@NESN) March 6, 2018