PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Not surprising coming off his best performance and a couple of wins, Pens will stick with Tristan Jarry in net at Boston Tuesday night. The Bruins are one of only two teams in the East Jarry does not have a career win against. The 25-year-old is 0-3-1 with an .871 save percentage and 4.14 goals against average.
Rookie PO Joseph made his debut a couple of games ago, rookie forward Drew O’Connor came off the Taxi Squad and could be in the lineup replacing Evan Rodrigues tonight. It’s between O’Connor and Sam Lafferty.
O’Connor went to college at Dartmouth, about two hours from Boston.
Head coach Mike Sullivan likes the influx of youth into his veteran core lineup.
“These guys bring a certain level of enthusiasm to the rink, every day,” Sullivan said of the young players. “They are thrilled to be a part of it. That enthusiasm, in my experience, can be contagious.”
“These guys are all good players. They are competitive guys. It helps us create the competitive environment that we’re trying to create. It keeps everybody at their best.”
There was a time when playing Boston meant the most physical match-up of the year. Not so much anymore with Zdeno Chara now in Washington and an emphasis by the Bruins to get faster.
“When you look at how the game as evolved it seems like every year speed becomes an important aspect of it,” Sullivan said. “Trying to stay competitive from a speed standpoint gives teams an advantage.”
It’s familiar names at the top of the stat sheet, Brad Marchand is tied for the team lead in goals (3) and assists (4) with Patrice Bergeron a point behind and David Krejci a co-leader in assists.
“They have a solid core that they have had here for a while,” Sullivan said. “They try to surround that core with complimentary players that allow them play to their identity. They’ve been one of the better teams in the league over the last handful of years. They’re well coached.”
“We know we are going to have to be at our best to get the result.”
Matheson back on ice
We are still trying to decipher what a ‘longer term’ injury means in terms of actual time away. It’s a relatively new term that allows for no second-guessing of injury time-frames.
Mike Matheson ruled a longer-term injury just a week ago, but the defenseman was on skates with the team during an optional morning skate Tuesday.
“The fact that Mike is on the ice and has made the trip is encouraging,” Sullivan said. “It suggests that he’s getting closer to a return to play. His status has not changed.”
Sullivan back home
Growing up 31 miles from Boston, playing college hockey at Boston U, playing one of his 11 seasons with the Bruins and getting his first NHL head coaching job also with the Bruins. You would expect this is not just a normal road trip for Mike Sullivan.
“I always have fond memories coming back to Boston,” Sullivan said. “Had the privilege of playing there and coaching there. There have been a lot of positive experiences that have helped shaped my life in so many different ways. Everything from high school, to college, to the NHL experiences. It’s always a lot of fun for me to come back.”
“Whenever a player or a coach has the opportunity to compete in their hometown. There’s always something special to that experience and I’m no different.”