|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET21:30 BRT, October 3, 2019
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas Attendance: 18,532
Bruins renew Cup pursuit with opener at Dallas
Less than four months removed from a Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Final, the wound is still fresh for many on the Boston Bruins.
"We did a lot of good things last year, but didn't reach our ultimate goal," coach Bruce Cassidy said at the start of training camp. "... It's a new year, every team's starting from scratch, we're no different. That's our focus now is to put ourselves in the same position we were in last year."
That quest for redemption begins Thursday night as the Bruins open the 2019-20 season on the road against the Dallas Stars. Boston begins the year among the favorites to return to the Stanley Cup Final, though Dallas is not far behind according to most sportsbooks.
The Bruins (49-24-9, 107 points last season) return mostly the same roster, including their high-scoring, top-line trio of Brad Marchand (36 goals, 64 assists), Patrice Bergeron (32 goals, 47 assists) and David Pastrnak (38 goals, 43 assists). The Stars (43-32-7, 93 points) are packing additional firepower, boosted by the addition of five-time 30-goal scorer Joe Pavelski and former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry.
Just like the Bruins, the Stars were ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season in a Game 7 against the eventual champion St. Louis Blues. Dallas had upset the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs before losing in double overtime in the deciding game of the second round to cap coach Jim Montgomery's first season on the bench.
The trip to the postseason was the first in three years for the Stars, who were carried by Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop (NHL-leading .934 save percentage, 1.98 goals-against average) in net. Add in the offensive production of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, a strong defensive core and the signing of Pavelski on a three-year deal, and it's easy to understand why Dallas has been a popular pick to win the Central Division and even contend for the Cup.
"I think it's everybody's goal, but we don't talk about it," Montgomery said of winning a title. "We're worried about Thursday night and trying to make the playoffs before we start talking about that."
The Bruins represent a difficult opponent to begin the season against, having beaten the Stars in five of their last seven meetings (one in overtime). Playoff hero Tuukka Rask will be in net as Boston kicks things off with a four-game road trip.
The Bruins might be without forward David Krejci, who is a game-time decision Thursday due to a lower-body injury. Krejci practiced in a standard jersey Wednesday and said he will go by how he feels in the morning.
"Right now, it's all good," Krejci said. "I feel better every day. Hopefully feel better tomorrow, and hopefully I play. That's the goal. I want to play."
Joakim Nordstrom (undisclosed) is out for Boston.
The Stars will be without Perry, who is expected to miss at least the first five games of the season with a broken foot. Playing for a new team after 14 years with the Anaheim Ducks, Perry had his contract bought out in June following a season marred by a knee injury.
"I'm going to come in here and be another piece of the puzzle," Perry told Sports Illustrated.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 2, 2019