SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brad Marchand should be back on the first line and goalie Tuukka Rask will start for the Boston Bruins against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).
Marchand, a 30-year-old a left wing, has practiced the past two days with his regular linemates, center Patrice Bergeron and right wing David Pastrnak, after missing a 3-2 overtime win at the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday because of an upper-body injury.
“Marchand looks good to go,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ll still probably call it a game-time decision, but he made it through practice today. It wasn’t a long one. No ill effects that I’ve heard of yet, so looks good.”
It will be Marchand’s first NHL outdoor game. He was in the American Hockey League when the Bruins played in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park and was suspended when Boston was in the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium.
“It hasn’t happened yet, so don’t jinx it,” Marchand said. “But, yeah, it’ll be an exciting game. It’s a very unique experience to be part of something like this.”
Rask will start for the second straight game after making 26 saves in the win at Buffalo. Jaroslav Halak started five of Boston’s previous seven games.
Cassidy called it a tough decision to choose between Rask and Halak, but he wants to give Rask consecutive starts so he can start feeling good about his game again. Rask, 31, is 9-8-2 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .912 save percentage this season. He allowed eight goals in his previous two starts before defeating Buffalo.
“I think it’s been not as consistent we’d all agree as we’d like, so this is an opportunity for him to take another step,” Cassidy said. “I felt that. I talked to Jaro today about it. He understands. He’s had a great first half for us, but that’s the decision today and hopefully it plays out well.”
The Bruins, though, won’t have defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who has a lower-body injury and was ruled out after he missed practice Monday. McAvoy, 21, will miss his second straight game. He hasn’t skated since Boston returned from the holiday break last week.