The Bruins have a tough string of games coming up next week as they take on Dallas, Vancouver, and their division rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. This will come after a Saturday game against the Nashville Predators, who have been a serious Stanley Cup contender the past few years and have shown no signs of slowing down this season. It’s a big stretch for the Bruins who look to keep up their early season success.

According to Bruce Cassidy, David Backes, whose season has been plagued by injuries thus far, should be good to go on Saturday against the Predators. Backes is an experienced veteran who brings leadership to the team and adds some depth to the offense, so he’s a guy the Bruins need to stay healthy. Hopefully, if he stays healthy, he can build some chemistry with newcomer Joakim Nordstrom and the third line can start to contribute to the scoring on a more regular basis.

Cassidy also announced Ryan Donato’s departure to the Providence Bruins before the Predators game. He said he wants Donato to work on the details of his game and find his scoring touch before making a return to the lineup. I personally think Donato is going to light it up in Providence, as he’s one of the B’s top young players. Most of the Bruins’ younger players have spent some time in Providence working on their game before becoming a permanent member of the lineup, so I’m not too worried about this move. I think we’ll see him back this season, especially if Backes can’t stay healthy.

The B’s are in Nashville on Saturday against a 10-3 Predators squad. This team is nasty, they have one of the best defenses in the league with P.K. Subban and Roman Josi, so it’s going to be awesome to see the Bruins’ top line compete against them. If the Preds’ defensemen shut down Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak, there’s hardly any chance the Bruins come out on top. But, if they can get some goals, it’s anyone’s game.

Then the Bruins have four home games in a row starting with a Monday game against the Stars. Three days later they take on the Canucks, who beat the Bruins last month in overtime. Both the Stars and the Canucks have similar records to the Bruins so I think they’re both very winnable games, especially at the TD Garden. Then, on November 10th, the Bruins take on the highly skilled Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time this season. The Leafs are led by the American phenom Auston Matthews, whose 16 points this year are among the most in the league. Toronto is a Stanley Cup contender this year without a doubt, so the Bruins are going to have to work for a win.

It’s going to be a huge week, especially in Boston’s tough games against the Preds and Leafs, but I’m really hoping to see a Bruins team that competes with the league’s best. If you’re thinking long-term like me, the Preds and the Leafs are two teams Boston might have to go through if they want to win the Cup, so this week should be a good indicator of where they are at as a team.

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