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Boston Bruins Continue Shuffling Lines Amidst ‘Right-Side Dilemma’

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The Boston Bruins continue to shuffle around their right wings due to injuries, an exercise that they are unfortunately all too familiar with over the last few seasons. At least they have a healthy David Pastrnak back on the Perfection Line at the top, but Bruce Cassidy confirmed there will be more shuffling ahead of Monday night’s match-up with the Washington Capitals at Capital One Area.

Some of it may be predicated on the health of Charlie Coyle (upper body) after he missed Sunday’s practice, but Coyle skated during an optional skate Monday morning and appears ready to play.

“I think [Coyle] will be in,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’ll make the determination tonight, but he’s feeling a lot better today.”

That may result in Craig Smith getting bumped up to the second line, and Chris Wagner sliding into a third line spot with Coyle and Trent Frederic.

The bottom line is that the carousel of right wings for second line center David Krejci is alive and well this season for the Boston Bruins, and that’s not a great thing for the Black and Gold. Krejci and Nick Ritchie have a combined three points during even-strength over the first eight games this season, so there is work to be done there to go along with the obvious offensive punch they have both teamed up for on the power play.

“We’re thinking of moving Smith with Krejci and [Nick] Ritchie to get that line going a bit 5-on-5,” said Bruce Cassidy of Krejci, who has just two even-strength assists in eight games thus far this season. “It’s the right-side dilemma with Krejci that we thought we’d have solved this year with [Ondrej] Kase, and then with [Jake] DeBrusk going out. Then [Jack] Studnicka goes out. So it’s out of necessity. We put [Karson] Kuhlman in there [on Saturday night] because he’d been there before.

“We may move it around, which of course takes away from the Coyle-Frederic-Smith line. But we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to match up the best. We may move [Chris] Wagner up to the Coyle and Frederic line because he’s got some attributes to play hard. So it would still give us that stiff line. But some of that would be based on [Coyle’s] health, which appears to be good.”

With Kase, DeBrusk, Studnicka and Matt Grzelcyk all back in Boston with injuries, it appears things will be the same on the back end for the second straight game with Connor Clifton playing his off-side with Brandon Carlo.

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Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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