[7:00 PM] Bruins @ Blue Jackets

Tuukka RaskTuukka RaskWho will WIN this matchup?

Boston Bruins

@ Columbus Blue Jackets


Starting Goalies:

Tuukka Rask(BOS): Confirmed

Sergei Bobrovsky(CBJ): Confirmed


Current odds:

Boston Bruins: (+110)

Columbus Blue Jackets: (-130)


The Boston Bruins faded badly down the stretch in 2015-16, culminating with a lopsided loss at home that kept them out of the playoffs for the second straight season. Despite major questions marks surrounding their defense, the Bruins expect to contend for a postseason berth and will take the first step in Thursday’s season opener with a visit to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Boston ranked fifth in the league in scoring last season (2.88 goals per game), but that was negated by a defense that surrendering an average of 2.78 goals. Captain Zdeno Chara, the longtime leader of the blue-line corps, will turn 40 this season and the supporting cast hasn’t really changed with the exception of a pair of rookies in Brandon Carlo and Rob O’Gara. Goaltender Tuukka Rask claimed the Vezina Trophy in 2014 with a goals-against average of 2.04 and save percentage of .930 — numbers that dipped to 2.56 and .915 last season. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron combined for 69 goals last season and led Team Canada to a World Cup victory last month on Marchand’s game-winning tally.

  Columbus also has a former Vezina Trophy winner who struggled last season in Sergei Bobrovsky, but there is reason for optimism after the netminder played magnificently in helping Russia to advance to the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey. The Blue Jackets lack a true No. 1 center but have plenty of offense with 30-goal scorers Brandon Saad and Boone Jenner supported by Brandon Dubinsky and Scott Hartnell. Columbus needs a bounce-back campaign from captain Nick Foligno, who managed only 12 goals in 2015-16, and continued growth from 2013 first-round pick Alexander Wennberg. There’s a lot of young talent on the defense in Ryan Murray, Seth Jones, David Savard and rookie Zach Werenski.

Bobrovsky is 8-18-0 with an .897 save percentage in October with Columbus.

The Bruins will be without C Bergeron and Ds Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller for the season opener.

Blue Jackets C Pierre-Luc Dubois, the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, was sent to Cape Breton on Wednesday.

StreakSmarts Pick: Boston Bruins

Confidence: 4/10

StreakSmarter Pick