Boston Bruins at Dallas Stars
When: 8:30 PM ET, Thursday, October 3, 2019
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
DALLAS – The Boston Bruins tied for the second-highest point total in the NHL last season and were one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup, only to drop a winner-take-all Game 7 on home ice to St. Louis. So it’s only natural that the Bruins have their eyes on hockey’s biggest prize as they kick off the season at the Dallas Stars on tonight in the opener of a four-game road trip.
While Boston finished 21 points behind Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay, it looked like the best team throughout much of the playoffs, rattling off eight straight wins at one point to further buoy the team’s confidence. “(Winning the Cup) is our goal. I think it’s every team’s goal, but is it always realistic,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I think since we were right there last year, it’s very realistic. I think, at least in our own minds, we’ve gone from more of a contender to a favorite.”
The Stars have high hopes of their own after pushing the Blues to seven games before losing in double overtime in the Western Conference semifinals and expects to contend for the Central Division title. “I think it’s up for grabs,” Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop said. “Every team in the Central has gotten better and it’s a good test for everybody. It’s fun.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet360, NESN (Boston), FS Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (2018-19: 49-24-9, 2ND IN ATLANTIC): Boston features one of the best top lines in the game in the trio of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron, who combined for 108 goals despite the latter pair missing a combined 30 games. Jake DeBrusk scored a career-best 27 goals flanking David Krejci (73 points) on the second line while third-line center Charlie Coyle, acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline, flourished in the postseason with nine goals and 15 points. Captain Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy are among the holdovers on defense in front of Tuukka Rask, who made only 45 starts with Jaroslav Halak thriving as his backup.
ABOUT THE STARS (2018-19: 43-32-7, 4TH IN CENTRAL): Like the Bruins, Dallas also relies on a potent No. 1 line of captain Jamie Benn, former Bruin Tyler Seguin and Alexander Rudulov, who combined for 89 goals but were the only three players to reach 20 tallies. That should change this season as the Stars added a difference-maker in former San Jose captain Joe Pavelski, who is coming off a 38-goal season and converted 12 times on the power play. Dallas features high-end young talent on the blue line in John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen and will be backstopped by Vezina Trophy runner-up Bishop, who registered seven shutouts and posted a superb 1.98 goals-against average.
- Krejci is dealing with a lower-body injury and is a game-time decision Thursday.
- Bishop posted six of his seven shutouts at home, including one of Boston on Nov. 16.
- Marchand has eight goals and 17 points in 13 games versus Dallas.