Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is confident that forward Joakim Nordstrom (allergy) will play Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden but not defenseman Connor Clifton (upper-body), who skated with his teammates Tuesday at practice as well, but isn’t quite ready to return
“I expect Nordstrom to play tomorrow,” Cassidy said of Nordstrom. “[Connor Clifton] skated with the team, has progressed well and no ill effects that I’ve heard of. He’s not going to play [vs. Montreal]. He’s not ready for that. But he keeps progressing for us.”
Clifton alternated with John Moore on the right side of the third defensive pairing with Matt Grzelcyk on the left.
Nordstrom has become a swiss army knife for Cassidy this season, moving up and down the lineup and becoming a mainstay on the penalty kill. He has four goals and seven points in 39 games this season.
“Nordy is one of those guys that does so much that maybe never gets noticed but does so much for us,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara told BHN Tuesday. “We’re lucky to have him.”
Also returning to the ice after being sent down to Providence for a quick paper transaction on Monday, was Karson Kuhlman. Kuhlman was back on the second line with David Krejci Tuesday and Nordstrom alternated rushes with Danton Heinen on the left wing of the third line with Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork. Forward Sean Kuraly, who had been playing on the left side of Coyle and Bjork while Nordstrom missed the last four games, was back in his normal spot, alternating shifts with Par Lindholm on the fourth line between Anton Blidh and Chris Wagner.
Cassidy also said that he and his staff were leaning towards waiting until Sunday when the Bruins take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on the tail end of another back-to-back (they host the Detroit Red Wings Saturday), to give goalie Jaro Halak his next start. Halak was a late scratch this past Sunday in Detroit due to a upper-body injury.
Here’s what the lineup looked like Monday:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom/Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – Anders Bjork
Anton Blidh – Sean Kuraly/Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – John Moore
Matt Grzelcyk – John Moore/Connor Clifton