While the Boston Bruins will get back to close to full strength with Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk returning to the lineup tonight vs. the New York Rangers, youngster Jack Studnicka will head to Providence for this week.
The 21-year-old forward has missed the last two weeks of action after suffering an upper body injury against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 28, and just returned to practice with Boston in the last few days. So, the Bruins sent Studnicka down to Providence to practice this week given that the Bruins will mostly be holding morning skates with three games in four days, and Bruce Cassidy said he’ll likely play in Providence’s game on Thursday against Hartford.
It all depends on the B’s coming out of Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers relatively healthy, of course, but Cassidy that Studnicka will mostly play wing even in Providence as that’s what he’ll be needed for in Boston.
“He skated with yesterday and he felt good. He wasn’t going to play tonight, so we felt like it would be good to get him integrated with the group down there…it would be better for him,” said Cassidy of Studnicka, who has a goal and a minus-2 in six games along with six shots on net during his time in Boston thus far this season. “I think they play [on Thursday] so he may be in the lineup tomorrow [for Providence]. That may be part of it to get him some games. We’ll see how we do health-wise and then we’ll make decisions going forward.
“He obviously played well for us here, but some of it is that he hasn’t played much on the walls. So, there’s a little bit of a learning curve for him there, and we want to make sure we don’t put him in a bad spot. Down the middle of the ice, we’re solid, so [playing wing] is probably his best opportunity here and we’re doing the best we can to prepare him so when he goes back into our lineup he can be at his best, or close to it for a young guy.”
It sounds like Studnicka may stick with Providence for the time-being as the Bruins get healthier on the wing, and with a clear sentiment that there’s still some development for the natural center playing on the wing at the NHL level.
Tuukka Rask will get the start for the Bruins on Wednesday night with Rask and Jaroslav Halak expected to split the weekend back-to-back games against the Rangers and the Islanders on this three-game road trip.
Otherwise, it’s looking like a pretty normal lineup projected for the Bruins tonight vs. the Rangers at Madison Square Garden based on Wednesday’s morning skate:
#NHLBruins morning rushes:
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Ritchie – Krejci – Smith
DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork
Frederic – Kuraly – Wagner
Lauzon – McAvoy
Grzelcyk – Carlo
Zboril – Miller
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 10, 2021