Boston Bruins head coach will shuffle the deck for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday night (8 PM ET, NBC).
Back into the lineup will be forwards Nick Ritchie and Anders Bjork and coming out will be rookie forward Jack Studnicka and Par Lindholm.
Ritchie and Bjork will ride one the left and right wings (respectively) of center Charlie Coyle. That means forward Sean Kuraly will slot back in on the grind line centering Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Wagner.
“They’re going to – they’ll play as a line tonight and see how they do,” Cassidy told the media in a Zoom call Sunday afternoon. “Ritchie, we expect to be a little better on the walls. He’s obviously, with active D for Tampa, as much in the o-zone as anywhere, he has to be aware in his coverage in D zone. Getting inside, Charlie [Coyle] is a good puck protection guy, can separate. Hopefully, Nick can learn to find those soft spots in the O-zone, preferably around the net.”
Cassidy is definitely looking for more from Ritchie, who while brought here mainly for his size and toughness, needs to play some two-way hockey if he wishes to remain in the Boston Bruins lineup.
“Sometimes you can’t always just park yourself in the crease, if plays die, then you’re the last guy out of the zone,” Cassidy pointed out. But, slot, net front. And with Anders, it’s capitalizing on some opportunities, obviously, he’s had a few. Just a consistent game. Hound pucks. Be a good complimentary player for those guys off the rush.
He can certainly get inside ice on his off-wing. And obviously, defensively like everyone on our team, be accountable and block a shot when it’s your turn to block a shot. Get the clear when it’s your turn to get the clear. Skate it out when the opportunity is there. We’ll see how they do.”
The defense will remain the same for the Bruins and Jaro Halak will get the nod between the pipes. Here’s what the lineup should look like for puck drop in Toronto: