The Boston Bruins have officially announced an important lineup change today, just hours before their second playoffs game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to a breaking news report from Boston Sports Journal's Joe McDonald, head coach Bruce Cassidy has decided that Ryan Donato will be in uniform. This is going to be his first postseason game in the National Hockey League.
Here's McDonald's tweet:
"Ryan Donato will be in the lineup tonight for Game 2."
The Bruins were relatively dominant in Game 1 of their first round match up against the Leafs, controlling the pace of the game outside of a brief moment in the first period and dominating the Leafs on the scoreboard. We have yet to know who is going to be scratched in favor of the 22-year-old forward, who recorded five goals and four assists in just 12 career NHL games, but some believe Tommy Wingels will have a night off.
He spoke to the media today regarding his status for tonight's game, and mentioned that he is feeling a bit better:
"Feel better than I did yesterday and I’ll come to the game tonight and see how I feel. Decide from there."
It is fair to believe, however, that Donato must be extremely happy to have the opportunity to play against Toronto. Here's what he told The Athletic's Fluto Shinzawa on Thursday, after coach Cassidy told him he wouldn't be playing his first career playoffs game:
“I don’t think I would be where I am today if I wasn’t upset that I wasn’t in,” Donato said the day after the Bruins’ 5-1 win. “But at the end of the day, it’s their decision. I’m going to be ready no matter when they need me.”
We reported on Tuesday that the deadline additions of Rick Nash, Brian Gionta and Donato have given this team perhaps the best depth of any team in the NHL, certainly at least in the Eastern Conference. While Bruins fans are no doubt disappointed that Donato did not get to suit up for game one, Cassidy clearly said that did not mean he would not be playing on Saturday:
"Game One scratch doesn't mean Game Two. Things can change in a hurry."
We'll have to wait just a few more hours before we know if this change paid off for Boston.