What to Watch For: Bruins at Coyotes

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DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 03: Brett Ritchie #18 of the Boston Bruins celebrates a goal against the Dallas Stars in the first period at American Airlines Center on October 03, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Bruins got off to strong start with a 2-1 season-opening win against the Stars in Dallas on Thursday night. A good first step in completely turning the page on last seasons disappointing game seven loss to the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Bruins rode a strong first period which saw former Star Brett Ritchie notch his first goal as a Bruin just 69 seconds into the game. Tuukka Rask did the rest, turning away 28-of-29 Dallas shots in the victory. The Bruins will now travel to the desert of Arizona to take on the Coyotes in the second of four-straight road games to start the season.

Here is what to watch for heading into game two:

Will David Krejci play?

The Bruins veteran center, David Krejci, didn’t suit up for the team’s opener on Thursday and as of Friday afternoon, he remains a game-time decision for the Bruins clash with the Coyotes. Krejci is still recovering from a lower-body injury that he suffered in September during the preseason. If Krejci doesn’t play, expect Ritchie to get the nod once again alongside Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk on the second line.

“We’re gonna rule him as a game-time decision”, said head coach Bruce Cassidy on Friday. “But I’m more confident that he’ll get in tomorrow than I was yesterday morning. But it will be his call.”

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Will Jaroslav Halak get the nod?

Despite the Bruins season lasting until the middle of June, backup goalie Jaroslav Halak hasn’t played a meaningful game since the beginning of April. Of course, that was to be expected as Rask was perhaps the best player in the entire playoffs for any team. However, he is not a goalie who needs to play 65+ games and actually prefers the rest. Add in the fact that Halak could arguably be a better starter on several other teams and the Bruins are in an enviable position between the pipes. Last season, Halak got his first start in the second game of the season and I would expect him to play once every three games at the very least.

Hello, Old Friend(s)

When Boston takes the ice on Saturday, they will face off with a pair of former Bruins on the ice in Carl Soderberg and Phil Kessel. Both players were acquired by the Coyotes in the offseason to bolster their offense. Kessel picked up a point in his season debut on Thursday. Both Kessel and Soderberg broke into the league with the Bruins before making pit stops with several other teams before reaching Arizona. In addition, Coyotes bench boss Rick Tocchet had a brief stint with the Bruins in the mid-90s. Tocchet suited up for 67 games over the span of two seasons.

– Ian Glendon is the Editor-In-Chief of Full Press Coverage and the Managing Editor of FPC NHL. He covers the National Hockey League. Like and follow on and Facebook

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