After being deemed ‘unfit to participate’ and missing practice on Friday, Boston Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, as well as goalie Jaro Halak were back on the ice at practice Saturday in Toronto. Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed after the practice that all three will be in the lineup tomorrow when the Bruins play the Washington Capitals at noon in Toronto in their final preseason game.
Cassidy also confirmed that Tuukka Rask will start his second game of the round-robin and defenseman Connor Clifton will finally draw into the lineup. Fellow rearguard Matt Grzelcyk will get a maintenance day to rest up for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Defenseman John Moore and forwards Karson Kuhlman and Par Lindholm will be healthy scratches.
“‘Kuhly [Kuhlman] will be out tomorrow. [Jake] DeBrusk will be in with [David] Krejci and [Ondrej] Kase, something that we had planned to do a long time ago,” Cassidy said of the second line he’s envisioned since the Bruins acquired Kase on February 21. “Just has not worked out. Hopefully they’re both healthy tomorrow at puck drop. They all look good today so that should take care of that. And then [Sean] Kuraly will be in with [Joakim] Nordstrom and [Chris] Wagner. Lindholm does mix in there with Kuraly. If he were to play, that would be his spot. But he’s not going to. So that’s our 12 forwards. Top line stays together and then [Charlie] Coyle, [Nick] Ritchie and [Anders] Bjork.
On the back end, we are going to put [Connor] Clifton in with [Jeremy] Lauzon. We’re going to give Griz [Matt Grzelcyk] a maintenance game off. That will allow Clifton to now play a game. Johnny Moore played an exhibition game, so did Lindholm. Kuhly played a couple, basically every guy that may get in overtime that’s kind of our original depth, will have now at least played a game. So, not ideal for the Clifton’s and the Moore’s and the Lindholm’s, but that’s the way we have approached it.”
Storm Surge Or Fishermen For Bruins?
The Bruins also found out Saturday morning that if they beat the Capitals on Sunday, they will face the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs and if they lose, they’ll draw the Carolina Hurricanes in a rematch of the 2019 Eastern Conference Final that the Bruins swept before losing to the St. Louis Blues in seven games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins were 2-0-1 against the Islanders who beat the Florida Panthers in four games to advance to the playoffs. The Bruins were 1-0-0 against the Hurricanes this season. The two teams were scheduled to meet March 31 in Carolina and then in their season finale April 4 in Boston but both games were canceled by the NHL COVID19 Pause.
Kase Excited To Play With Krejci
Kase has been happy to finally get some reps with Krejci this week and is looking forward to finding chemistry with the Bruins veteran center.
“We had a couple good practices and we’re getting to know each other,” Kase said Saturday. “Obviously we never played together but I’ll play tomorrow with him and hopefully it will be a good game for us.”
Kase has always been a big fan of his potential new centerman and is ready to get his stick in the right place and convert on the dishes from one of the NHL’s elite playmakers.
“Krejci can make the unbelievable pass,” Kase said. “You need to have just your stick on the ice and he can find you everywhere. He’s so smart. So the goal for me is to just like. …show him my stick and he will pass to me for sure.”
Here’s what the lineup will look like on Saturday:
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Kase
Ritchie – Coyle – Bjork
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Clifton – Lauzon