Opening Night Buzz: Marchand expected for Bruins first game


Welcome to the 2020-21 NHL season! Opening Night is Wednesday and has you covered with all the latest news.

Boston Bruins

Brad Marchand is expected to be in the lineup when the Bruins open their season against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NESN, NHL.TV) after returning to practice on Wednesday. The forward started camp with the Bruins on Jan. 4, but left practice early on Sunday and missed practice on Monday and Tuesday. He had surgery to repair a sports hernia on Sept. 14; the expected recovery time was four months.

Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said he is anticipating that Marchand will play, but will make a final decision Thursday.

“He’ll be a game-time decision, obviously, coming off his surgery,” Cassidy said. “He’s been involved in, I think, 90 percent of the practices. He left a couple early to get some treatment. So I suspect there will be a little bit of adapting from the surgery for him as we go through here. But I fully expect him to play tomorrow. See where it goes from here.”  — Amalie Benjamin


New York Rangers

Mika Zibanejad likely will play when the Rangers open their season against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, MSG, MSG+2, NHL.TV).

The center, who scored 41 goals in 57 games last season, skated for the fourth time and participated in his second full practice of training camp Wednesday. He did not skate during the first week of camp after testing positive for COVID-19.

“It certainly looked like he was ready to go today but we’ll have a clearer picture of what that’s going to be [later],” coach David Quinn said. “As far his minutes goes that’ll just be monitoring during the game. Obviously, everybody knows he’s had COVID and everybody reacts differently to it. That’s going to be a shift by shift decision.”

Zibanejad is expected to skate on a line with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich. Igor Shesterkin will be the Rangers’ starting goalie.

The Rangers will enter the season without a captain. Zibanejad, Kreider, forward Artemi Panarin and defenseman Jacob Trouba were named alternate captains Wednesday. — Dan Rosen


Washington Capitals

Craig Anderson signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Capitals on Wednesday.  

The 39-year-old goalie was placed on waivers and will join goalies Pheonix Copley and Zach Fucale on the taxi squad if he clears at noon ET on Thursday. 

Goalie Ilya Samsonov is expected to start for Washington in its season-opener against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN360, SNE, SNO, MSG-B, NBCSWA, NHL.TV).  

Vitek Vanecek, a 25-year-old rookie, made the roster as a backup.

Anderson signed a professional tryout agreement with the Capitals on Dec. 27 after Henrik Lundqvist announced Dec. 17 he would be unable to play this season because of a heart condition and subsequent open-heart surgery. Anderson was 11-17-2 with a 3.25 goals-against average and .902 save percentage for the Ottawa Senators last season.

“Anderson, I thought, played really well in the scrimmage and Copley, I thought, was real strong throughout the camp,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “So these guys are available to us, but right now this is the decision we made with these two kids. They’ve worked hard to get to this position to gain an opportunity and now they’ll get a chance to show what they can do.”

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