After Tomas Nosek had a crack at the Boston Bruins top line, Jack Studnicka will get his chance Friday night as the B’s take on the Winnipeg Jets. Patrice Bergeron remains out, while Anton Blidh will be a healthy scratch.
“Grateful for the opportunity,” Studnicka said Friday morning. “Obviously, it’s a big opportunity for myself. I’m excited for it and ready to relish it. I haven’t played with (Brad Marchand), I don’t think, at all. Hopefully, the chemistry’s there and just try to win my fair share of puck battles, be good in the D-zone, get them the puck because obviously, they’re two really good players and hopefully use my skill set with them and hopefully we read off each other and things go well.”
The 23-year-old center will be playing in just his 11th NHL game, and it will be with Marchand and Jake DeBrusk, with Bergeron still out. Though Bergeron could potentially return as soon as next game, Studnicka will have to make the most of his opportunity.
“Been one of (the Providence Bruins’) best players, if not their best player, over the last stretch of time, two weeks, three weeks,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Playing well in all areas… His game’s in a good place. Obviously, offensively, you see the numbers, but the rest of his game has been good too away from the puck, habits, and details.
“He’ll get a chance up there, see how it goes, that way we leave the other three lines that I think have been solid for us and consistent in place. Will be a tough ask for Jack but also a good opportunity for him, right? Playing with a guy like March and Jake on his other side. Hopefully, some of that offense translates and he’s able to handle the workload in his own end.”
Studnicka is having a solid year in Providence as Cassidy noted, as the 6-foot-2 center has nine goals and 24 assists across 37 games with Providence. Studnicka is also coming off of a five-game stint with the team in February.
“Once you see a puck go in the net, your game kind of builds from there,” said Studnicka. “Just trying to attack more off the rush and use my foot speed. It’s been working out, things have been opening up once I start doing that. Hopefully, bring some of it tonight.”
Linus Ullmark will get the nod in goal as the Bruins and Jets will take on each other tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET, in Winnipeg.