Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy met with the media today in Tampa Bay ahead of his team’s critical Game 5 matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. After falling down 3-1 in the second round best of seven series, the Bruins are staring down the barrel tonight knowing that if they don’t bring forth their best effort then their season could be over. Win and it’s back to Boston for Game 6. Lose and it’s all over.
With so much on the line and with superstar pest Brad Marchand’s licking escapades stealing all of his team’s headlines, Cassidy has been working quietly behind the scenes to get his team on track. Marchand and his actions have been dealt with. Both the league and Cassidy personally have addressed the matter:
“Well I saw the directive from the league yesterday. I talked to Marshy about it. That’s what the league’s asked for - ‘we need you on the ice, we need you playing.’… Find something else. If part of his M.O. is to annoy people, find a different way to annoy them, that’s basically what’s in front of him now. Preferably by scoring some goals. That would be the best way, probably.”
That’s all fine and well… but the Bruins will need a lot more than a well behaved Marchand if they’re going to win Game 5 and stay in the series. To that end, Cassidy confirmed that he’ll juggle his lineup for today’s game:
That’s a real blender mix of the team’s usual lineup. Rookie Ryan Donato slots in for veteran Tommy Wingels and, surprisingly, fellow rookie Danton Heinen gets the shaft. It’s pretty clear that Cassidy is attempting to get center David Krejci going by putting Donato on his wing.
Sean Kuraly moves up to the third line with Riley Nash moving down to the fourth line. A somewhat interesting move given how valuable Riley Nash has been this post season.
On defense, Cassidy confirmed that Torey Krug will not play after suffering an ankle injury in Game 4. Veteran Nick Holden will draw in as his replacement, but it’s youngster Matt Grzelcyk who’ll get the promotion up to the second pairing with Kevan Miller in Krug’s absence.
Puck drops is just moments away from Tampa Bay.