As expected, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will keep defenseman Jeremy Lauzon back on the Bruins blue line for Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Connor Clifton, who played his one and only round-robin game in the 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals Sunday, will be a healthy scratch again when the Bruins begin what they hope will be a long playoff run Tuesday night at 8 PM in Toronto.
“Yeah, the way we finished the year, we’re still – we’re not burying that part of the season,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said when explaining his decision to put Lauzon back in.
After scoring a goal in a 3-2 Bruins win over the Vegas Golden Knights on January 21, Lauzon essentially took over the left side of the Bruins’ third defensive pairing with Matt Grzelcyk on the right side. He finished the COVID19-truncated season with a goal and an assist in 19 games but became a strong physical presence and solid puck-mover for the Bruins. Lauzon had no points in three round-robin games but he did have seven hits and averaged 15:31 per game.
“Cliffy [Connor Clifton] played and Johnny Moore, one game. So probably made that decision coming out of training camp with how I allotted the ice time,” Cassidy said. At the end of the day, if we need to make a switch we will. We just felt that gave us the best balance in our lineup of size and puck-moving ability with Lauzy in there. I do believe the bigger guys needed a few more reps. He’s now been on the ice a little while. I thought was a little better against Washington. He settled into his game.
So that’s the decision behind it. I do have a lot of faith in Johnny [Moore] and Cliffy [Connor Clifton] if Lauzy is not up to the task or any one of the other D. But that’s what we’re going with tonight and we feel that it’s going to give us a real good chance to win.”
This will be Lauzon’s first real career Stanley Cup playoff game.