BOSTON (CBS) — Tuukka Rask will be back starting in goal and winger Jake DeBrusk will be back in the lineup for the Bruins on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden. DeBrusk was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
The B’s returned home after a 5-3 loss in Nashville on Monday to prepare for Thursday’s very winnable contest. The Coyotes are 7-18-5 and last in the Western Conference with 19 points on the season.
Here’s what else to know about the Bruins ahead of the game against the Coyotes:
— Rask enters Thursday with a career 9-1 record against the Coyotes, including a 1.60 goals against average and .941 save percentage. His one loss was in the 2010-11 season opener in Prague. Rask stopped 22 of 23 shots in his last start against the Coyotes in a 4-1 win last Feb. 28.
— One Coyotes player who demands attention from the Bruins is rookie forward Clayton Keller, a former teammate of Charlie McAvoy at Boston University and the seventh overall pick in the 2016 draft. He’s off to a strong start in his first NHL season, leading the Coyotes with 11 goals and 23 points in 30 games. But the 19-year-old is also playing a role in Arizona’s league-worst 104 goals allowed, carrying a minus-17 rating as of Wednesday.
— Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner were both absent from Wednesday’s practice. Head coach Bruce Cassidy said Krug was just taking a maintenance day, while Spooner is still fighting through a lower-body injury that the team is “re-evaluating”. They’ll see how Spooner feels tomorrow. (UPDATE: Spooner has been placed back on IR to make room for DeBrusk.)
— Defenseman Adam McQuaid is “more likely for next week” according to Cassidy, as he nears the end of his recovery from a broken right fibula suffered on Oct. 19 against the Canucks.
— CBS Boston Sports’ Matt Kalman looked at David Backes’ loud, commanding leadership presence upon his surprisingly quick return to the Bruins lineup.
— The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa wonders if Matt Beleskey is in jeopardy of losing his roster spot once DeBrusk returns to the lineup. (That decision has now been put on hold with Spooner on IR.)
— NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty asks whether the Bruins should consider adding size and toughness to protect Brad Marchand from being targeted.
Listen live to the Bruins vs. the Coyotes on 98.5 The Sports Hub!